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Comment Not an evolutionary pressure (Score 3, Interesting) 225

Evolution. All the idiots who won't get their kids vaccinated will see their genetic line die off. Those with vaccinations will be OK.

Might work if these diseases were always fatal. Problem is that they aren't. They are only sometimes fatal. Sometimes carriers aren't even symptomatic. And they also can infect people who cannot get vaccinated for valid medical reasons.

I wouldn't have a philosophical problem with parents of children who choose not to vaccinate without a valid medical reason to have to live in quarantine. Separate them from the rest of the herd. Basically they are deciding to join a voluntary leper colony. This would keep them and their DNA from infecting the rest of us.

Comment Not so simple (Score 3, Informative) 225

Just make sure *your* children have their vaccinations. The kids of all the dumbasses will be weeded out due to genetic stupidity. It is as it always was... thank you Mr. Darwin.

If only it were that simple. Problem is that the asshats who don't vaccinate by choice cause illness in those who cannot get vaccinated for valid medical reasons. If it was simply people competing for darwin awards along with their spawn I could almost not give a damn. But unfortunately I do actually care about the kids of these dumbass parents. You don't get to pick your parents and just because they are idiots doesn't mean the kid necessarily is.

Personally I think anyone who doesn't vaccinate without a valid medical excuse should have to live in quarantine.

Comment Academic distinctions (Score 2) 197

Yes, but it doesn't give accurate percentages of those affected.

That's kind of an academic point of interest. Once they develop an in-situ test on a live brain then we'll get accurate counts of percent of players affected but that's not particularly important data. The important fact is that playing american football unambiguously and substantially increases the risk of CTE particularly among professionals. The exact percentage of affected players is academically interesting but not clinically important to those affected. The important fact is that the rate of affected patients is substantially higher than in the general population. The only people that might care about the exact percentages are probably lawyers.

Near 100% in those donating their body to science, but that might account for only a small percentage of those involved in the sport (also, what about other sports with high-speed impact, such as hockey)

What about them? It's already known that hockey players get CTE as well and similarly the exact percentages aren't the important fact. Again, whether most football players or just some have CTE the important fact is that substantial percentages of these athletes (well above the general population) are affected. The cause of their injury is no more a mystery than the cause of a torn ACL.

Comment Common connectors are a great thing (Score 1) 118

the "one plug for everything" trend that began with USB Type C is a step in the wrong direction.

Could not disagree more. There are HUGE advantages to having common connectors. These advantages vastly outweigh the drawbacks. Connectors should be commonized as much as possible. The fewer number of cables types I have to deal with the better. I basically want to be able to hook up nearly everything with 1 or at most 2 types of cables.

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.

Except you don't and you never did in a great many cases. Having to carry around and deal with 20 different types of cables is wasteful and unnecessary.

So you see a Type C plug - is it Thunderbolt or not? Is it a DisplayPort? What voltages/amps can it provide?

All good quality USB-C cables will work for Thunderbolt. Same with Displayport. As long as you are using good quality cables it is a non-issue. Sourcing good quality cables is not a difficult problem.

this is made even worse considering that there's active circuitry involved, where you need to worry about whether the cable itself is built right (see e.g. Benson Leung's long list of cables that can fry your hardware)

If you buy a crap cable from a crap vendor be prepared to get crap results. This is nothing new and has nothing to do with whether or not common connectors are a good idea or not. While I do generally agree with the principle that cables should be dumb and the smarts should be in the devices it's not something I'm going to make a holy war over if it gets the job done.

Comment Crap "analysis" (Score 5, Interesting) 57

In terms of number of battery units produced, Tesla and GM are roundoff error compared to Toyota.

Several issues with your "analysis". 1) The Tesla Model S is a $70-100K car so not exactly and apples to apples comparison 2) The cars you are comparing have been on the market for 6 years or less versus 20 years for the Prius. Of course cumulative sales will be bigger for the Prius. Do you know how many Prius were sold in the first 5 years on the market worldwide? 81,700. That means that both the Volt and the Model S outsold the Prius over the first several years of their availability. 3) The Bolt has been on the market for a year. Are you seriously going to compare cumulative sales of a vehicle that has been on the market for a year to one that has been on the market for 20?

That tells you that there's something seriously wrong with the scalability of their production.

Not even remotely. I design manufacturing production systems for a living. Tesla scaling production to deliver cars more quickly would be a substantial cost with no obvious benefit to Tesla either short or long term. The reason they haven't done it isn't that they cannot do it but because they have chosen not to do it. As long as customers are willing to wait for delivery it would be enormously stupid of Tesla to devote that much capital to upgrading assembly lines and supply chains. There is no evidence to suggest that faster production would result in enough marginal extra sales to be worth the expense. They need to produce cars fast enough to keep their customers happy but any faster is wasting money. So far Tesla customers clearly are ok with waiting a bit.

(If you want to know what the problem is, Tesla relies on selling ZEV credits to other automakers to keep from going bankrupt. But other automakers only need a certain number of ZEV credits each year to comply with CARB regulations. So Tesla has to be careful not to produce too many ZEVs lest they cause the price of ZEV credits to plummet due to oversupply.

Wrong again. Tesla is not throttling production for that reason and they certainly aren't calibrating it to demand for emissions credits. That would not be a sustainable business model and Elon Musk certainly knows that. The reason Tesla isn't profitable and why they produce at the rate they do is much simpler. They simply lack the economies of scale enjoyed by major auto firms. That fact alone is why you haven't seen a major new car company in decades. It's hard to achieve minimum efficient scale in the auto industry, particularly with a wildly non-traditional product offering. They have to reinvest all their capital (and then some) into building the company. Production lines to make cars are enormously expensive. Companies like Ford and GM and Toyota have had years to develop the scale and balance sheets necessary to bankroll such investments. Tesla is still a small young company with a weak balance sheet and it will take time to get to where the major auto makers are now.

Pretty much all small companies have the same problem including mine. My company makes auto parts and we could easily bring in enough people and machines to deliver products to our customers in a few days. But the expense would be enormous and we would immediately become uncompetitive on price. We also could produce products ahead of time and inventory them but that means we tie up vast amounts of capital in inventory and storage. Producing products faster than your customers demand them is wasteful, expensive, and stupid.

Comment Them again? (Score 2) 123

> Tri Alpha Energy, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

The design leads of TriAlpha described their design in a late 1997 paper in Science.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/278/5342/1419

Issues over the next year contained responses from other researchers. They invariably point out that the design simply will not work. In one specific instance, the original paper describes the "Q" of the reactor running on p-B to be about 2.3. One of the responses goes into this calculation in depth and calculates it to be 0.02.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/281/5375/307

This system will not work. As demonstrated at about the same time, it is HIGHLY unlikely any non-thermal-equilibrium system ever can due to massive energy losses through radiation. We've known this for almost 70 years, but the evidence by this point in time is absolutely overwhelming.

Comment Re:Yawn. (Score 1) 57

I mentioned battery density and weight as it was the major factor preventing the uptake of electric vehicles in the past, before lithium-ion was able to provide sufficient energy storage in a smaller weight (and volume) of batteries. I first got interested in EVs back in the 1970s when NiCd was about the best you could get for such applications and a 100km range was considered impressive. Back then increasing the Wh/kg figure was the target to aim for. Nowadays any new or improved battery tech for vehicles needs to match or exceed Li-ion's performance in that regard before all else.

I mentioned SCiB because is is a "Biggest Breakthrough Since Breakfast" battery technology with useful capabilities that nothing else on the market matched and it's from Toshiba, the company headlining TFA that's supposedly productionising a solid-electrolyte Li-ion tech battery. SCiB shows they've got a creditable track record of getting stuff out of the lab and into the real world unlike most vapourware BBSB battery stories/PR pieces that appear on Slashdot and elsewhere.

SCiB lithium-titanate is not really suitable in its current form for most vehicle applications due to its not-very-good Wh/kg performance (about half that of Li-ion) although there are some trials going on using SCiB batteries in larger vehicles such as buses where the Wh/kg numbers are less important as well as KE-recovery systems where its repeated rapid charge and discharge characteristics are beneficial. The big thing though is that SCiB is not a lab experiment, it's got funding and development and it can be bought off-the-shelf although it's very expensive (price on request, if you need to ask you can't afford it).

Comment Re:Irresistable force meets immovable object (Score 1) 318

How do you know Muslim3 isn't lying?

It doesn't matter. If you force-convert people enough of them remain converted to make a difference.

Christianity was spread at the point of the sword; look how well it took.

Forcing a population to renounce their religion is a strategy that works very very well :- you get the overwhelming majority (+90%) and their descendants permanently converted.

Comment Re:How do they know if you're a Muslim? (Score 3, Informative) 318

Faith is fungible.

Nope. Appearance of faith is fungible. As a lifelong atheist, I get to deal with stupid people all the time, and mostly I deal with them by not correcting them when they assume that I'm of {their favourite/their hated/any} faith.

My son does the same. While you and I can split hairs on slashdot all day long, in real life it will be way too exhausting to correct people's misconceptions. It's better to simply avoid the argument that {their god is real/moon landings were faked/the MRA is out to get them/the earth is flat/etc}.

Of course, on slashdot I get to determine how much of my time to waste; IRL the other party will continue the conversation long past the time that I am tired of it and I may not be able to get away.

Comment Re:Yawn. (Score 4, Interesting) 57

No, energy density is the key issue for electric vehicles, mass as well as volume but mostly mass. Old-style electric vehicles before lithium-ion batteries of various flavours were developed used bulky and heavy lead-acid and NiMH battery systems which didn't provide sufficient range due to their physical limitations. Li-ion batteries are typically twice the Watt-hours per kilogram figure of older battery tech.

Even now a modern electric vehicle's battery pack makes up a large part of the volume and mass of the car for the range it provides. It's sufficiently small though to make them viable although the manufacturers want to improve that even more to reduce the cost of manufacture and extend the range between charges.

I'm usually very cynical about "Biggest Battery Breakthrough Since Breakfast" stories but there are a few things about this one that make me sit up and take note. One is that it's Toshiba who have a track record of delivering new battery tech such as SCiB, a rapid-charge battery (zero to full in ten minutes) with very good operating life of several thousand cycles despite being fast-charged. The other is that they're working on building out production of this new battery (which might be based on SCiB) rather than announcing lab results and talking a lot about nanostructures and the like while scrabbling around for more development funding.

I'm speculating here but it's possible the new Toshiba batteries will provide a fast-charge capability since they are supposedly solid-electrolyte. Fast-charge in the tank-of-gas time range period (five minutes or so) would mitigate range anxiety to a large extent if the infrastructure is in place to provide the large amounts of power to deliver fast-charge.

Comment Control group is non-football players (Score 4, Insightful) 197

Why would someone donate their brain if they didn't think they had damage?

Plenty of people donate their brains for research who do not have CTE or other brain damage. This has been studied among the general population quite thoroughly. There is no need for every football player to donate his brain to avoid sample bias. We have a control group in everyone who doesn't play that sport.

Comment Don't be stupid (Score 4, Informative) 197

Correlation does not imply causation.

Getting hit in the head is a proven cause of CTE. Professional football players get hit in the head commonly. Professional football players have CTE commonly. There is no other known cause of CTE aside from getting hit in the head. QED playing professional football is a common cause of CTE. The causal chain is quite intact here. The fact that some players manage to avoid brain injury while playing football does not change that causal chain.

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