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Timmy O'Riley By L. Hadron and the Colliders 62

Making music has never been quite this awesome! Using only ThinkGeek products (Bliptronic 5000, Guitar Shirt, Drumkit Shirt, Stylophone, and Otamatone Electronic Instrument) the ultra-geeks over at ThinkGeek have created this ultra-cool cover of The Who's Baba O'Reilly. This also qualifies as a full blown shameless plug since ThinkGeek shares a corporate overlord with Slashdot.

Comment Attack from the source (Score 3, Interesting) 79

As I recall, the Chinese government has access to the Windows source code. Google's been claiming that the Chinese government launched the attacks, and security experts have backed them up. The obvious conclusion is that having the source gave the Chinese government the opportunity to develop a new attack against Windows.

While some might see this as an argument against Open Source security products, I see exactly the opposite. The closed source made it possible for the only party with the source to gain an advantage. In products where the source is available to everyone, there is no advantage to any party. Therefore the holes are found and sealed, instead of left to fester, like this one was.

Comment Re:Thin is In (Score 1) 246

Hallelujah, brother! I bought a Treo, simplifying my life immensely by merging my phone and planner. My big complaint is that it's so small! I can't comfortably hold it between my ear and shoulder, and although I could get one of those BlueTooth borg adapters, it would increase my power consumption considerably (and look stupid, too).

Replaceable batteries would help, of course. But I think the best solution is to provide *bigger* phones. I want better capabilities, not thinner cases!

Laptops are a different matter. If you're lugging that thing around all day without even a handle, you want something below 5 pounds. But I think I could handle a 1- or 2-pound phone with no problem at all.

Comment Re:Charging speed. (Score 1) 246

Thank you. This is exactly the same issue with fast-recharging electric cars (mine actually uses the 2/0 cable for its traction battery): you'd need a cable with a 3-foot diameter to recharge the batteries quickly.

The batteries I'm using actually LIKE a quick charge at high currents (150A or more). But I can't provide anything greater than ~13A from that little outlet on the wall.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

Phew! That's a lot to read.

Cars from the '70s and '80s do still need frequent oil changes. It's just a fact of life for people with "cheap" cars. Luckily, converting to electric solved that problem for me.

Polls can be wrong, and they'll vary a lot by area. But the polls consistently indicate ~20 mile commutes for Americans across the country. Granted, in rural areas, it'll be longer; in New York, probably much shorter. Perhaps this indicates a problem with using averages for this statistic, as opposed to a problem with the poll itself.

With a 30 mile commute, home-built EVs are viable. With a 60 mile commute, you'd have to shell out the bucks for something commercial. Even so, I also own a minivan for my wife's daily use and longer family trips.

Y'know, tobacco biodiesel would go a long way to help NC's farmers. I'm all for that. And I favor NiMH (as proven in the RAV4-EV) over Li. But I'll take anything that'll hold the energy, frankly.

I don't think diesels are bad, either; especially not the modern diesels. If I ever get enough money, I'm considering a "pusher trailer" to extend my EV's range, and a diesel will be my first choice.

I'm not sure I agree with the reduction math. But I'm not saying any solution is horrible, either. Let's do both. Besides pure-diesel and pure-electric options, let's provide a diesel-electric hybrid. Let the electric motor work where it's most efficient (accelerating) and the diesel where it's most efficient (cruising). We'd have a car with the long range you desire, and efficiency rivaling a pure electric car.

You were a bit snippy, but my response was, too. I think we've managed to come to an understanding. In fact, I don't think we were ever that far off.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

I don't know what type of car you had prior

Like many, I can't afford a new car, so I'm always driving older cars. Every 10,000 miles is unrealistic for oil changes. We used-car aficionados are looking at 3,000 miles or so.

Your 200mi EV fails in comfort and economy to my Diesel, especially if the goal is take 5 200LB adults with luggage 250 miles with no more than 20 minute brakes every 100mi.

I dunno. The Tesla Model S is pretty luxurious. In any case, "comfort" is a subjective measurement, and I'm not sure where it figures in our efficiency discussion.

At the current price of 2.19 I could drive to and from the pool about 4 times on a single gallon, 2.19/4=0.54, so yes technically I can.

I think we're going to need some numbers on this one. That's 60 miles on one gallon of diesel in your SUV. (I did specify one trip to the pool and back was 15 miles.) And this isn't highway driving; it's stop-and-go traffic lights all the way. And 54 cents is, "technically", not less than 50 cents (a high estimate of my electricity cost).

I drive about 26mi to work, most of the people I work with drive better than 50mi in a single direction, some pushing 80mi.

Then you work with a singularly unusual workforce. Polls consistently show average commutes around 20 miles or so; for example, here's a 2005 commute poll showing 16 miles average, at an average speed of about 37 mph.

Around these parts (and by these parts I mean NC, I'm from TN and my family is from MS which has no jobs except to drive to TN and work -- 60 to 120mi one way a day is normal for most Missippians), an EV is nothing but a waste of time, a diesel makes far more sense.

I used to live near Asheville, NC. 'say, neighbor?

I'm not trying to argue that EVs are for everyone. Certainly not yet. The only thing I'm saying is that EVs are about twice as efficient as an internal combustion engine vehicle. I didn't like your pointed questions characterizing my car as worthless, so I asked some of my own.

Your car is for you, and I don't question your decision. My car is for me, built specifically for my needs. I don't see why we have to belittle each others' choices to discuss efficiency.

Did I mention that I've actively lobbies for a commuter rail, and have been shot down because people don't want to ride with the "riff raff" that use public transportation? Now you see why I've switched to lobbying for diesel and domestic plant-based biofuels, notably fuel that comes from non-consumable plants like hemp or algae (but algae isn't really a plant).

No, you didn't mention, and it doesn't matter, except insofar as I'm happy you're trying to improve things. Me, too. I like biofuels; recently I attended an alternative-energy symposium where one of the projects focused on coconuts.

Personally, I'd like a self propelled electric highway transiting the entire country. Like a rail gun, only slower. I'd set it up as "individual mass transportation": you drive your car to the station, drive onto one of the induction cars, and it whisks you away quietly and quickly to your next destination. No need to mingle with the "riff-raff". If your car was electric, it would even recharge while you waited.

Such a system would be a fantastic economic benefit. Certainly a lot better than destroying stuff in another country, or propping up business models that are already failing. It's actually creating value.

Anyway -- that's a side track. (Sorry. You started it! :)) I'm not some fanatic trying to criticize or take away your SUV. Make your own choices, drive what you like. The OP thought the inefficiencies of power transmission and storage reduced EV efficiency to less than an ICE. I just pointed out that studies show otherwise.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

About $7000, including donor car. I estimate about two man-months of actual labor, interspersed over almost three years of real time.

But why do you ask? I thought we were talking about well-to-wheels efficiency. If you want an EV that saves money, you don't want my car. If you want a fast, long-range EV, there are better options as well (there are even really fast home-built EVs).

I built *my* car for *my* needs. Which were: reliability and carrying my family around. I never have to change filters, plugs, or belts. None of my parts wear out except the wheels, and the only lubrication I require is the transmission fluid.

My car requires no maintenance, which is what I was shooting for. I happened to get efficiency, "zero emissions", silence, battery-backup for my house in disasters, the ability to refuel from any electrical outlet, and the cool factor (my kids love it, and brag about it to their friends).

Oh, and the "EV Grin": the amazing feeling you get from driving the car you built yourself.

I'd say it was worth the 7K. I'd gladly do it again.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

I wish it were solar. I can't afford to put solar cells on my roof. Right now it's coming from a coal power plant. :P That's why I checked out the emission data, discovering that I'm still more efficient than a gas car.

Living in Florida, I get to see my share of flooding. The motor has no problem with being submerged; some of the electronics do. I placed them all up high and dry. I should be able to ford a 3-foot deep stream without trouble (or a snorkel).

Except the charger. I can go through a flooded street with no problem, but I have to wait for the charger to dry out before I can do it again. I won't have that problem if I just waterproof the box the charger's in.

Cold can reduce your range, depending on your batteries. I don't have to worry about it much in Florida. The folks who do design insulated battery packs or battery warmers.

Snow itself is no problem. In fact, the electric motor produces much smoother torque than a gas motor, so it should get stuck less. And traction control can be done electronically.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

Sure! My sig points to my website, which contains not only Contraction Timer, but my EV Conversion Diary.

For guidance, I'd recommend the EV Discussion List (if you prefer email) or the DIY Electric Car Forums (if you prefer a web forum).

My car took about three years, all told. That includes out-of-state work by my brother, waiting on a custom part (that I probably should've just gotten machined locally), and local assembly. It also includes all the days we couldn't work on it: I've got three kids, so it wasn't even an "every weekend" project for me. More like two days a month.

If I were doing it again, and had the time to dedicate to it, I could finish a conversion in a month of effort after receiving all the necessary parts.

It should also be noted that advanced skills are not necessary. My car was built with no tools beyond a saw, a screwdriver, a drill, and a wrench. (Well, there was a big-ass wire cutter.) A ten-year-old designed the battery pack wiring.

After I become a self-sufficient millionaire, I intend to design and build my own AC motor and controller. THAT will be a serious outlay of work and skill acquisition.

Comment Re:Those who say it cannot be done... (Score 1) 223

So you can carry all five members of my family and their stuff 15 miles to the swimming pool and back using less than 50 cents of diesel? You can run your car for 40,000 miles without requiring oil filter, radiator fluid, air filter, spark plug, or other maintenance costs like my EV? (After 40K, I need to replace my brushes. Should've gone AC.) You can refuel from the sun or any source providing a convenient electrical outlet? If so, you've made a feat. If not your car is useless to me.

Seriously, we're talking about efficiency here, specifically well-to-wheels efficiency. You want to talk capability? We can do that, but your needs are different from mine, and the majority of commuters.

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