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Comment Re:The litmus test (Score 1) 109

While I agree with everything you've said, you're making false equivalences... One (huge) mistake doesn't turn a legit news organization into a supermarket tabloid, just as a few lies on one side doesn't balance out a voluminous blatant and continuous intentional disinformation campaign on the other side.

THAT is a perfectly valid reason why discussion on the topic tends to be one-sided, even if problems on the other side need to be resolved as well.

Comment Re:So much for public charging locations (Score 2) 214

Should be trivial to construct a USB charging cable with inline fuses (or sacrificial caps/resistors/diodes), maybe adding $1 to the cost of the cable, and protecting your expensive devices from not just intentional sabotage, but also cheap, poorly engineered chargers, which might just kill you.

It was already bad hygiene to plug-in a USB cable that has the data lines intact into a public port, as all your data could be quietly siphoned off, and malware loaded on. If this new threat gets people to pay attention to previous threats, we might all be better off for it.

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 1) 175

No. I was using residential PV installs only as one tiny example to put things in better context. There's no reason to debate the pros/cons of it here. Those issues are irrelevant to the question of whether solar power plants should be single multi-terrawatt beasts, or several smaller multi-megawatt sites.

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 4, Insightful) 175

So that's the largest solar plant in the world and it only outputs 648 MW? I'm having trouble finding something to compare this to since the nuclear plant near me generates 846 MW with one unit

Unlike nuclear, there's NO REASON to have one single huge central solar plant, so it's a terrible and dishonest comparison to make. Let me put it this way... How much power do you get out of the nuclear power plant at your house? Maybe on your roof or somewhere in your yard?

First you have to try and establish that having one big single central power generating plant is some sort of benefit. It's easy to argue that it's not, as distributed generation has fewer transmission losses, lower up-front build-out costs, greater flexibility (buy-up whatever land is available), etc., etc.

Comment Re:Sigh. How many major standards wars is this? (Score 1) 72

Why do tech companies even do this? Why can't everyone just agree on a standard and stick with it from the start instead of having a war that means us consumers who buy gear from the wrong side will suffer.

There's millions of reasons...

Waiting for an agreed standard is no good, because that takes forever. And most standards just merge together a few of the most popular proprietary methods and call it a standard, so you can't just start on step 2 in any case.

Adopting whatever came along first is no good, because what comes later might have higher requirements and crippling yourself to the older one gives you little or no benefit.

It can be slow and expensive to design something that makes everybody happy. Sometimes you have to do what's best, right now, for your product.

It's often less expensive to start simple and proprietary, then convert and adapt later, when something better comes along, or once it eventually becomes competitively priced.

Companies don't want to spend all their time and money designing and developing infrastructure, only to have some cheaper imitator with the 2nd mover advantage come along and undercut them and be able to use their work without effort.

Companies only need a big enough market to develop economies of scale. Making their market larger than necessary to do that offers them no extra benefits.

And that's just scratching the surface.

Comment Re:Obsolete? (Score 3, Informative) 142

dvgrab works on Linux but you can't view the tape as it comes in.

That's not true at all. Linux has no file locking, so you can quite easily view the video file in real-time as they're being created and extended. A simple tail -F VIDEO.DV | mplayer - should work, though adjusting cache sizes might be necessary for some formats.

Comment Re:Coal to grow in the USA?? (Score 2) 275

The coal business is dying from natural causes in the USA, and I don't think there's anything Trump can possibly do to turn that around.

Part of the reason coal is dying is because of clean air regulations. Trump and the GOP could kill those. In addition, power companies have asked for subsidies to keep their coal plants open. No takers, today, but Trump might hand them some cash to "create jobs" or similar farce.

Wind turbines have been going up in large numbers -- including here in Texas, where the wholesale price of electricity (dynamically auctioned via computer) has sometimes been pushed to zero.

Wind turbines are big in Texas because government subsidies pay them money for every MW they produce, no matter the demand for it, or current market price. If the GOP stops that, you'll stop seeing zero or negative wholesale electricity prices.

Comment Re:So, how often does it explode? (Score 1) 230

the only time they explode is when a charger is connected in reverse.

That's completely baseless. A lead-acid battery, operating normally, can explode at any time. Just ask NASA:

On May 17th, 2010 at approximately 10:00 am, the start-up battery on Generator #1 (not due to start-up) exploded for no apparent reason. [...] when one or more cells have a high concentration of hydrogen gas because the vent cap was plugged or defective and did not release the gas effectively an unsafe condition is created. In addition, when electrolyte levels fall below the top of the plates, a low resistive bridge can form at the top of the plates and when current starts to flow, it can cause an arc or spark in one of the cells to intensify that condition. This combination of events ignites the gas, blows the battery case cover off and spatters electrolyte with potentially injuring unaware personnel and to further damage associated equipment.

There's untold tomes of more info on the problem, if you'll set aside your ignorance and do some actual research for yourself.

Comment Re:Incentivized vs fake? (Score 2) 106

There is no indication that her reviews are fake or incentivized, so I don't see how Amazon is going to remove them.

Amazon knows about all the cash-for-review services, and they monitor those sites. It wouldn't take long to show a trend that one reviewer is predominantly buying and reviewing products that are being promoted by one of those services.

In addition, failing to mention you were paid for your review, violates not just Amazon's terms, but FTC rules as well. Such bad-behaving reviewers could face a lawsuit with stiff penalties, along with the companies involved.

Plus, good reviews for bad products may get promoted at the start, but once real people start buying and are quite unhappy, some honest reviews will push through the noise, and those older reviews get down-voted and flagged by quite a few customers. Then some of those accounts start getting deleted en mass. I've seen it happen several times.

Comment Re:So, how often does it explode? (Score 2) 230

I'm pretty sure that whenever energy is both very dense and very accessible, you've made an explosive. Existing battery technology is already going that direction.

That's nonsense.

NiMH and LiFePo batteries are at least 2/3rds as power-dense as Li-Ion by volume, but are EXTREMELY stable and safe... Moreso than lower density Alkaline batteries.

Meanwhile, the least-dense battery technology being used is lead-acid, as found in your card battery, and they have a bad habit of exploding, too. Probably much more than Li-Ion batteries.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say congrats. (Score 1) 36

Power companies shortly will no longer be required to purchase electricity from homeowners, so the grid is not a storage alternative.

Electricity from the grid always costs less than electricity from batteries, for residential users. If you have excess solar and can't sell it, your best bet is just throwing it away.

But besides that, only Nevada has allowed electric companies to stop buying residential solar electricity. It's unlikely the rest will.

batteries are a backup solution in the event the grid doesn't supply power.

Lead-acid batteries may be. Li-Ion batteries are not. Tesla doesn't make Lead-acid batteries.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say congrats. (Score 1) 36

Homes with solar panels need batteries.

No, they do not. Batteries are an expensive and inefficient waste of money and energy, when you have a grid connection.

Electric cars need electrical service for charging at homes and businesses. SolarCity specializes in delivering qualified installation services.

There are innumerable electricians out there, and they're all certified for such tasks.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say congrats. (Score 1) 36

The synergy makes sense.

No, it doesn't. "Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts."

There's zero reason to get your solar panels from your car-maker. It's just as easy to hire two different companies for those two very different jobs. There is no synergy here. Well, maybe a little bit of marketing (Solar City ads shown to Tesla customers), but that's it.

This looks like a complete bailout of one of Musk's failing business units, by another. The kind of thing Martin Shkreli is going to jail for.

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