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Comment Re:Utility (Score 1) 419

The subtle point of my response was that you can't price internet connectivity the same way you price a physical commodity. There is a real cost associated with purifying water or generating electricity that is easy to measure. The cost structure associated with connectivity is very different. For the physical utilities, you have a significant fixed cost and a relatively large marginal cost. For something like connectivity, you have an significant fixed cost and a relatively small variable cost.

If I leave my tap dripping all month and use 100 gallons of water, the cost to the utility is the same as if I used that 100 gallons all day. The same is true of internet connectivity, except that bursts of usage can have a much more dramatic impact on the end user experience (both for me and for other customers). That doesn't appear to be the case for water/sewer utilities, and only seems to affect the electricity market during periods of extreme weather or extreme manipulation (e.g. Enron).

Comment Re:Google Apps (Score 1) 224

Do NOT put your data "in the cloud." That's the very worst thing you can do. If you have a business, YOU should be in 100% control of your data and your backups.

I would argue that a SMB is probably well served by having one copy of the backup (or a part of it) in the cloud for true DR. Yes your live data and one full copy of your backup should be in your control, but you can fairly cheaply have a 2nd backup in the cloud.

In my case, I did it for certain key executives (owners, HR, CFO) laptops. They have secure folders on the server which they'd never use, so I created both local external HDD mirrors in their offices as well as cloud back-ups using a well known backup solution who would use Han Solo as a spokesman if they could. The server backup was a rotation of external HDDs stored in a data-rated fire safe.

Comment Re:Is there any GOOD news from Dubai? (Score 4, Informative) 171

97% of the taxes in the US are paid by the top _50%_ of the people in the country.

97% of the income tax. There are a lot of other taxes. For example, payroll taxes, which amount to about 7.5% of an employees first $105k in income, (so it's actually a regressive tax. That is paid by every employed person, regardless of income. Sales tax is another one not included.

And then, if you want to talk about the larger issue of funding the government, there are loads of fees (nearly) everyone pays, from car registrations, to fees on your telephone bill, etc. To mention only the income tax as OP did, is disingenuous.

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 1) 332

It is. The press release states that these charging stations would be a (slight) net contributor to the grid over the course of the year.

What GPP was suggesting was to create a parking lot full of these things in order to avoid the long lines (it takes 30 minutes to get an 80% charge). Space-wise, I don't think that works, as the square footage required to generate the required energy is probably much larger than that of a parking spot. Of course, given time, the efficiency of the cells will increase so the idea may eventually have merit.

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 1) 332

The solar panels don't need to be located at or near the charging station, since electricity is fungible.

This is true (proportional to the efficiency of the transmission grid over distances).

My original point was to the G...GP who said:

It would be a lot easier and safer to put a charging station at each spot in a parking lot

If we take Tesla's statement that the supercharger is a net contributor to the grid as a constraint, I don't see that happening without vast improvements in solar cell technology - cells slightly larger than the footprint of the car would need to generate enough energy to recharge the car. My guess is that such an arrangement would probably need several hours of sunlight to do it.

So, to have a parking lot recharge station we'd either need more efficient cells, or we'd need to accept the fact that the charger would be a net drain on the grid. This is fine of course, but then we're back to the original complaint that EVs aren't zero emission if they are drawing from a grid that generates most of it's energy from coal. (Of course, as you point out, we could set up solar power stations and hook them to the grid, but if it were economically efficient to do so we'd be doing it more already.)

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 1) 332

That way it doesn't matter how the solar panels are performing at any given moment,

But it does matter what the average output of the solar cells are over time, versus the average amount of charging of cars they are doing. TFA says that the station will provide slightly more energy in a year than would be required to charge cars, but they don't specify how many, or how often, and I didn't see where they talked about how big the charging station was.

What if it takes 10 m^2 or panels to run it, and can only support one car of average usage? Then it doesn't scale up as easily. You'd need a football field sized Supercharger to maintain ~50 cars.

In 2009, there were 254m passenger vehicles in the US. In 2007 there were 164k gas stations in the US. That's an average of 1548 passenger vehicles per gas station. This doesn't count commercial vehicles and semi trucks. My assumptions about the charging station up above are surely conservative, but it's clear that on-site solar generation is not going to scale up the same way as conventional gasoline stations.

Now, distributed power generation certainly is the way to go, and so it would make sense to proceed with this strategy, but I don't think it will continue to a net contributor to the grid as volume ramps up.

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 2) 332

I just want to make sure the idea that rich people are helping us and its good to live in a world of extreme inequality

I don't disagree with your politics, but let's face it, without the current quasi-capitalist system and resultant extreme inequality, Musk would (likely) not have had the money to start Tesla in the first place.

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 1) 332

It would be a lot easier and safer to put a charging station at each spot in a parking lot than it would be to fit a gas pump to each one.

Would it? What square footage of solar cells is required? How well do the cells perform in cloudy climes? Apparently well enough, as they mention a chain of stations from Vancouver to San Diego. Still, you'd need a fairly large parking lot completely covered with cells to make it work on a reasonable scale.

Still, I'm very excited about this, and could see myself buying a Model S in 5 years or so. By the time the larger recharge stations are in play (i.e. 5-10 years), the solar generation technology will have been improved, as well as the charging speed. Batteries and range will have improved as well.

As long as incremental steps like this keep coming, the goal of electrical personal transportation will get closer and closer.

Comment Re:My thoughts... (Score 1) 135

What I want to know is if you could actually get this combo off in a game. Even with all four players colluding, I think it would be difficult. Manipulating the Chancellor of Spires to the top of the Library would be one of the more difficult aspects. I wonder if you'd need any other cards they didn't include to make it a "playable combo" (e.g. Library of Leng to increase hand size).

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