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Comment Re:Raise the Price (Score 1) 462

But it is already expensive enough that it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy if you want to buy one to save money on gas. The price difference is $15350. If we assume $4/gal for gas, then that's 3837.5 gallons. Fiat 500 gas version gets 31mpg city, 40mpg highway. If we average that, then we get 136,231.25 miles before the price difference pays for itself. And that's assuming we paid cash for the car. If you finance it, then add interest on top of that.

The Gasoline price difference is only a part of the cost savings, and it isn't even the majority. The fact is that pure electric vehicles are much cheaper to maintain. They have no oil, so you can scratch off $200 / year in oil changes. There is no rotating alternator, no starter, of fuel pump, no oil pump, no water pump, No distributor cap. The single biggest difference is a lack of wear and tear on the brake pads. A *properly* built EV will have full regenerative braking which effectively prevents the driver from *ever* using the brake pads. (most EVs today do not have full regen braking, and instead use the brake pads part of the time. This is a result of incompetent design engineers who still do not understand electronics, and insist on a mechanical solution). A typical EV will go 5 years between maintenance visits. I have had mine for two, and the dealership offers "free oil changes for life" on all of their vehicles, So i take it to them once every three months, and they top the windshield wiper fluid and wash the car. Outside of that, there has been no maintenance at all since I bought the car, and the first sched maintenance (according to the factory) isn't until 100k miles when they will check the control diagnostics to see if everything has been running correctly. I get the brake pads every year at the cars inspection, and every year they comment that the brake pads look essentially brand new. They don't expect I will need new brake pads until somewhere well north of 100k miles.

At the end of the day, the cost for the first 5 years are a little cheaper for the gasoline car. You have $250/ month for car payments, plus $80-100ish for gas, plus $40-50/ month for maintenance (oil, brakes, etc.

The comparable EV will cost about $500 / month in payments, plus $25 / month in additional electric costs.

Total Gas: $370-$400 / month. Total Electric: $525-$530/month

After 5 years, the cost dynamic changes radically. The two car payments go to 0. The operating costs for the EV remain around the $25 / month in electric costs. The monthly cost for the gas vehicle actually go up. You still have $80-$100, and you still have the $40-$50 for regular maintenance, but now things start to break. You have an additional $100 / month for unexpected maintenance, (maybe twice a year, something like an alternator goes, costing $600, maybe you accidentally fry a brake rotor, so that $100 brake job now costs $500.

5 years to 10 years old: Gas car: $220 - $230 / month. EV: $25 / month

After 10 years, it gets truly ugly. The gas can now has major mechanical trouble on a regular basis. The total average monthly maintenance costs are up over $250 / month, and most people consider it cheaper to replace the vehicle. The EV on the other hand is still in perfect working order, and there is no particular reason it should have significant costs this decade. The only two parts to suffer any real wear and tear are the motor controller, and the motor itself, both of which if designed properly, for the EVs usage profile, should last many decades. The motor controller will eventually fail due to a phenomenon known as silicon fingers, but in large quantities motor controllers would be very cheap to build. ($300 or less, and it should be at least 2 decades before it fails.)

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 630

1/2mV.terminall^2 since 83 miles away we presume it will be on the downslope of a parabolic-ish arc. 23lb at 300mph - 10kg at 136m/s = 10 x 136^2 = 185kJ give or take. So about the same as a Toyota Yaris going 40mph or a Ford Focus going 35mph.

These things will be going much much faster than terminal velocity, even 100 miles downrange. They simply will not have enough time to slow down. The shuttle on re-entry came in basically belly-into-the-wind to bleed of energy as fast as it could, and it still took a half hour and 6,000 miles to bleed off all that energy.

This shot is designed to be stremlined, and will not bleed very much energy at all. I wouldn't be surprised if its still moving mach 6 when it gets to its target... Try redoing your calculations for 4,000 MPH, and see what you get.

Comment Re:Distinguishing Science From Pseudoscience (Score 1) 470

Please, name an established fact and explain how this differs from a normal fact.

Force equals mass times acceleration.

The equation yeilds accurate predictions for 100% of use cases where velocity is less than 0.01C, and distances are greater than 0.1 nm.

This fact differes from other facts becasue it involves a usefull method of predictiing behaviors of systems. It is verifiable, and falsifiable (although it has only been falsified for very high speeds where it is replaced by a more complicated set of equations, and very small distances where it is replaced by even more complicated equations). The point is that scientific facts are theroies that are overwhelmingly supported by evidence, and are falsifiable by nature. Much of the trouble people have understanding this concept stems from the unending stream of bullshit advertising they see on TV to the affect of "Our new dieting pull is scientifically proven to reduce your body mass index in just three minutes!", and other such nonsense.

Teaching critical thinking in school will only help so much because people inherently believe what they want to believe, even scientists. That is why there is so much faking of data in the science community. They are only human after all. A better solution would be a group who are granted the copyrights to most science related words like "scientifically", and "proves". This group could prevent most crap science just by suing advertisers out of existence who insist on improperly using these terms. After the media is forced to stop using the terms incorrectly, people will slowly stop using them incorrectly as well.

Comment Re:day trader loses to second traders (Score 1) 246

So from whom is something being stolen, the one who offers to buy at $100 and receives $100? Or the one who offers to sell at $99.99 and receives $99.99? It seems by your definition all retailers are stealing from their customers.

The money is stolen from the second party.

The way it works is this. Party one offers the stocks for $99.99, but doesn't have the full amount of stocks that Party 2 wants to buy. Party 1 sells all of their stocks to Party 2 for $99.99, but the HFT intercepts the sale, and uses that information to buy shares from parties on other exchanges for $99.99, and then offers those shares to Party 2 at a slightly inflated price of $100.00. As the HFT has effectively depleted the stocks available, Party 2 has no choice but to buy from the HFT. The difference in price is within the margin, so Party 2 buys form the HFT never even knowing that they paid more for the stock than was originally asked, all Party 2 knows is that they offered $99.99, but that sale never completed, and the new price they could get was $100.00. The very act of offering $99.99 caused the price to change before the willing buyer at $99.99 and the willing seller at $99.99 could even complete the sale. All of this happens within fractions of a second.

The stock market only functions correctly when all parties have the same opportunity and access to the same information. When one party has access to information that no one else has, or can get, we call it insider trading, and the HFTs have created an artificial insider trading scenario. It is legal, but only just barely, and is still morally wrong. It adds nothing to the market, and unjustly enriches the HFT who provides no value added to the market.

Comment Re:day trader loses to second traders (Score 3, Informative) 246

Any competent institutional broker has a wide variety of ways to defend its customers against that, all you need is a little time for their algorithms to work. If you don't have time, well, you pay the price just like any motivated seller.

The problem with dark pools, is that the customers need to be defended from their own broker. These trades happen so fast, and there is so much raw data out there that verifying that the price you got for your stocks was optimal is prohibitively time consuming, so no one double checks that their broker actually got the best price. The high frequency trading takes a very small amount from each trade (0.1% is the amount I saw in the article). Its small enought that it gets lost in thebackground noise of the market, but it is really no difference between this and stealing a penny every time someone withdraws money from an account. Stealing is stealing no matter how you dress it up, or pretend its for the good of "The Market".

Comment Re:I am just simple. (Score 1) 148

You would think more victims of our "justice system" with nothing left to lose would kill the judges and police responsible for ruining their lives.

That is a remarkably difficult thing to do once a person has been found guilty, and up until then there is hope that the "system" will work in their favor.

Besides, the world wouldn't really be better off with hardened crimninals going around killing police, prosecutors and judges. That just leads to more corruption, not less.

Comment My own op-ed (Score 5, Interesting) 151

Carmack screwed the analysis quite thoroughly, and now its too late for them. One of two scenarios is in play here:

1) Facebook bought OR because they wanted to diversify their holdings to make themselves more resilient to changes in their core market. In this case, Facebook will likely leave OR mostly alone and except for adding some money to the pot, but when it becomes clear that OR can not or will not scale at the growth that Facebook wants/needs, then it will get the axe.

2) Facebook bought OR because of some overriding strategy that involves OR's technology. In this case, Facebook will not be allowing OR to keep going the way they have been going, which more than likely means very little if any emphasis on VR gaming, and instead is intended as a social platform for virtual interaction. In this scenario, the best that OR can manage will be to get some games developed and released, but to that end there will likely be no support from Facebook.

Carmack was correct when he stated that OR needed two things: first, they would need cash infusions at several points to be able to scale at the rate that flash-in-the-pan games require in order to meet their sales goals. Without that cash, developers would be reticent to make any games that truly took advantage of the platform because then they would be locked to it with no guarantee that OR could manufacture enough units to *not* severely limit sales of the game developers product. Facebook solves the cash problem, but only by reintroducing another reason for developers not to get involved: Facebook itself. Facebook has burned many developers before, and consequently developers are less likely to become involved with them than they would have been with any other company (possibly excepting Microsoft).

The second thing that OR needs is developer support, which, for the reasons described above, the Facebook deal makes far more difficult than it would have been if OR had been bought by almost any other company.

All things considered, OR might fare better having been bought by Facebook than going it alone, but that is by no means clear.

Comment Re:real answer (Score 2) 108

Facebook and Google are worlds apart. Googles Net earnings is greater than Facebooks gross revenue. Ditto, every other tech company that counts. Facebook has made a concerted effort to generate revenue any way they can, to the point of almost pissing off customers, and they still are almost an order of magnitude below any of the other big players (Google, MS, Apple). Worse still, the market is showing signs of a shift, and as Myspace can tell you, when your user base goes, they go quick.

Comment Re:real answer (Score 3, Insightful) 108

Everyone who uses Facebook seems to be in their own little self-centered world anyway. That's why they bought Oculus. It simply matches.

No, Facebook bought Oculus because they are sitting on a pile of cash, and no good strategy for making profits. Facebook is not Google (which has a massive short term revenue stream), and it has no long term strategy for making social pay out the big bucks. Facebook also does not have the engineering talent to follow Googles "try everything" strategy, so Facebook is trying desperately to buy revenue diversity instead of creating it for themselves. Ultimately this is a loosing strategy, and a sign of weak / stupid management with very poor planning skills.

Buying Whatsapp was a gamble on that companies ability to monetize an otherwise non-revenue generating user base. Oculus likewise has no proven user base. For an established company like Microsoft or Google, this kind of acquisition makes sense, since they can eat the loss if the investment goes sour (they usually do). Facebook cannot afford to have any of these mega deals go bad. They simply do not have the revenue stream and they can never again go IPO and raise another pile of cash. So instead of sitting on the cash, and waiting for a strong investment opportunity, they are squandering the money like kids in a store. It is hauntingly reminiscent of the dot-com boom, and likely will end the same way.

Comment Re:It's basically legal property. (Score 4, Interesting) 83

Once you accept the notion of patents in the first place (as a temporary monopoly on something in return for disclosing it instead of keeping it secret), it's a very small jump to buying and selling them. If an independent inventor comes up with an idea but doesn't have the capital to bring it to market, they can sell the patent to a bigger company.

That right there is the problem. Ideas themselves are essentially worthless without the many thousands of hours of work involved in taking an idea to market. The real work is done by the people who develop the product. the idea itself has always been considered pretty much worthless. That is why venture capitalists care far less about the idea than they do about the inventor(s). They want people who get things done. The idea itself is almost irrelevant.

That is the real reason why so many people hate the patent system. It unjustly enriches the worthless turds who produce nothing of value, but insist on being paid for their "contribution".

Along those lines, Patents (and copyright) should be irrevocably granted to individuals, and transfer should be forbidden. If an individual wishes to make money from a product, let them do the real work involved in bringing that product to society.

Comment Re:Flight recorder (Score 1) 491

What I want to know, is why my phone (the smallest model made) can hold 1100 hours of compressed audio ... but these aircraft using NAND don't hold more than 2 hours of uncompressed audio (you don't want any quality sacrifices or artifacts from compression to screw up your analysis later) in a redundant array ...

Most of the newest versions do hold far more than 2 hours, but the average age of the worlwide air fleet is around 15-20 years. That menas equipment that was commisioned in 2000 (and the designs having been finalized many years before that). replacing existing FDRs and CVRs is just not cost effective, and will not be done unless mandated by a government agency. Newer plnaes all have significantly more advanced equipment, largely because the newer equipment is actually cheaper than the old tape style, but the units have to be self powered, and handle uncompressed recording for many hours across at least 4 channels. That menas significant space, and more importantly, significant compute power which eats watts. Modern processors like the RPi and Beaglebone can handle the load, but, again, were talking about equipment that came off an assembly line decades ago.

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