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Comment It's hard to believe. (Score 2) 57

The amount of data you need assemble a global navigation system is enormous. You don't hire some intern to transcribe data out of Wikipedia, you license it from companies like Tele Atlas.

Now for geographic place names you'd turn to sources like the USGS GNIS system for the US, whatever the local equivalent of GNIS is, or for places that don't have that datasets like GNIS the DoD's Defense Mapping Agency.

It can't possibly be that Bing gets their place/position data mainly from Wikipedia. The only thing I can think is that they did some kind of union of all the geographic name sources they could find in order to maximize the chance of getting a hit on a place name search, and somehow screwed up prioritizing the most reliable sources first.

Comment Re:Epinephrine cost per dose in about 50 cents (Score 2) 256

Well, it's the very fact that the alternative is, possibly, death that makes it possible for a company to do this. This thing occupies a peculiar corner case where the demand is modest, but inelastic.

This means a monopolist can milk the market by raising the price to insane levels, but because the market is small no competitor wants to enter it. Were the market to become competitive it is so small that the newly entered competitors wouldn't make much off their efforts. This is contrasted with statins, which are blockbuster drugs. You don't need a very large slice of that pie for the slice to be very large indeed.

The same thing happened last year with Duraprim. If you have toxoplasmosis, you absolutely have to have it. But how many people get toxoplasmosis?

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 1) 220

You clearly know nothing about driving experience. What makes a driving experience good and fun is equal power and torque at the same time. The power and torque curves of ICE engines are exponential in opposite directions and you typically can only get equal HP and Torque up in the 5-6000 RPM range (near redline) where they both hit the same value (where the curves cross). Electric motors on the other hand have identical HP and Torque curves. They have maximum Torque and HP at every point along the curve.

Electric motors are the absolute funnest type of propulsion there is to drive. Why do you think the first Porsche was Electric and only went to ICE when he couldn't solve the power storage problem? You should test drive a pure electric some day and realize everything you've been missing. Because you don't know what you're talking about if you think ICE engines are the funnest to drive.

Comment Re:We need this (Score 1) 220

More of the breakthroughs get out into the wild than you would believe. You don't get 20% more capacity at the same weight in 5 years without it. Lithium Ion battery innovations are deployed almost immediately if they are economical and capable of mass production. It's the new battery techs being developed that have a much lower success rate. Very few have ended up competitive with lithium with the advances being done in Lithium. They target being better and cheaper than Lithium but in 5 years the Lithium batteries outpace the development.

The money Dyson is planning to spend is pennies in comparison to what is being expended right now on batteries. There are hundreds of companies both startups and large industrial conglomerates spending more. There are 10's of billions being spent on battery research right now, it wouldn't surprise me if the total R&D exceeded 100 billion or more. Lithium batteries alone have seen gains of more than 20% in 5 years time and there are a dozen different battery chemistries being deployed for various applications given the constraints to drive battery success (weight, charge rate, discharge rate, total capacity, size, life and cost). Lithium has been dominating because it does very well at all the constraints except the charge cycles (life).

Comment Re:Useful for desalination plants? (Score 1) 78

Well, to answer your question, of course if we covered the entire ocean, or significant fractions of it, sure there'd be undesirable ecological effects. Just like anything else that is scaled up endlessly without allowance for what economists call "externalities".

If you could internalize all externalities then the market would provide a perfect solution without any kind of regulation whatsoever. But since nobody knows how to do that, then I imagine that you'll get two regimes: (1) do whatever you want as long as you grease the the correct palms (in authoritarian states like China) or (2) go through the rigmarole of doing environmental impact studies before getting permits to beuild (in democratic societies).

Comment Re:Useful for desalination plants? (Score 4, Insightful) 78

I should think not -- at least not in the way you're probably thinking.

The device consists of a wicking layer topped by a light-absorbing layer. This boils water, which produces more or less pure steam. It also leaves the minerals from the water in the wicking layer. If you take distilled water directly away from the device and replace it with fresh seawater, those minerals will build up until the layer is no longer absorbent. On the other hand if all you want is the heat, you run the steam-distilled water through a heat exchanger and return it to the wicking layer, reconstituting the original water.

So it'd probably wouldn't work to use this directly as a steam distiller. However you could use the heat you collect to run a separate steam distiller. That would be very inefficient, but the thing about "renewables" is that conversion efficiency is less important than low installation and operation cost, because you're not paying for your feedstock of energy; any sunshine you don't use would have been wasted anyway. So while it seems physically possible to use this device to power a desalinization plant, whether it makes economic sense depends on whether this is actually the cheapest way to run a plant.

Comment Re:More political redirection (Score 3, Insightful) 505

Here's the problem -- Clinton deleted these emails AFTER they were requested from the House as part of an official investigation. She chose to print out everything she claimed was relevant (probably to avoid giving away metadata in headers, etc.)

In other words, she willingly destroyed information she was required to hand over.

The full Headers and all Metadata are part of the Record and part of the E-mail; If you are requested to hand over the e-mails: you have no right to exclude or remove headers, even if your standard e-mail software does not normally display the headers when you are reading the message.

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