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Comment Re:6.8 Billion (Score 1) 343

> We've pretty much already dammed every river that's capable of generating reasonable amounts of hydro power

This is patently false.

In pretty much any area you look with some hydro development now, there's about 50% untapped. That includes here in Canada, where only about 55% of the conventional resources are used, and if they expended to all the large ones only, it would provide enough electricity to power everything we already have an all our cars. With some left over to sell to the US as well.

Here, for instance, is a recent-ish report for my area. Ontario currently has 8 GW of installed capacity. The study found about 6 GW of untapped easy capacity, 1 GW of which required internal changes only (new turbines and distribution systems). Another 14 GW exists but is not currently economic. If fully developed, it would be more than enough power to run the entire province.

This ignores the emerging fields like hydrodynamics. It's not entirely clear how large this is, but estimates I've seen place it at about the same as existing sources. Unlike conventional systems, these take up no space and have basically no effect on the river.

Comment Re:6.8 Billion (Score 2) 343

> I wonder how many wind and solar plants could be built for a mere 6.8 Billion?

No need to guess, google has that answer:

Actually these numbers are already out of date, solar in the US is under $1/Watt:

So you could buy about 6.8 GWp of PV for that, as opposed to the 1.2 GW of nuclear they did get. Nuclear has a CF around 90% and solar about 32%, so that means PV is only half the price of nuclear, as opposed to six times.

Which is precisely why this is the first nuclear plant in so long, while 8.5GW of wind went into the US in the last year alone.

Comment Re:I hope Apple Pay will die (Score 1) 284

> justify yet another middle man :rolleyes:

You realize there's *always* a middle man on every card process, right?

Apple simply replaces some other company that almost certainly charges more.

And the reason the Oz banks are whining is that they negotiated a nice cushy fee between them and now here's Apple doing it for less.

Comment Ok,but are these duplicate channels (Score 1) 198

I'm not sure what its like in the US,but here in Canada if you get 200 channels you're getting about 60 channels, 30 of which are repeated multiple of times (~5) for different cities. Obviously if you watch CBC Toronto, you're unlikely to watch CBC Ottawa. This would explain this "finding" immediately.

Comment I disagree (Score 1) 348

With all due respect, this statement is just wrong:

"Clay tablets are more resilient than papyrus manuscripts are more resilient than parchment are more resilient than printed photographs are more resilient than digital photographs."

Digital photographs are infinitely resilient, because they can be infinitely copied with perfect accuracy. Analog mediums do not have this feature.

It may indeed be harder to erase a clay tablet, but because it is so difficult to produce, there's only ever one. Analog photography may be easier to erase than a clay tablet, but there's likely to be more of them. So one could argue (as it is in the opening of I, Claudius) that cheaper mediums are more resilient.

And digital is infinitely copy-able, for free and perfectly, so in effect there are an infinity of them. Sure, the physical media they are stored on may one day degrade, but they should have already been copied to millions of others, and continually do so, forever.

The monkeywrench in this equation is not physical, but legal. If copyright prevents you from making those copies, they will disappear. Not could, WILL. Modern "everything is copyrighted" is a far greater risk to posterity than anything to do with the medium.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 235

> 7.5 m^2 of 22% efficient polycrystalline solar cells covering its flattish surfaces

Did you check that figure? Lets:

We just got a Subaru Forester, a relatively large car. It's roof is about 1.25 m wide, and the hood and roof together are maybe 2.5 m long, so that's ~3.25 m^2. Now you might cover the sides too, but A) that means only one side could possibly be in the sun, and B) the cosign error makes it entirely useless.

Now 22% solar cells still have to go through 95% efficient inverters/charge controllers, and then into a 90% efficient battery and back out again. So that's maybe ~18% end-to-end, ignoring dirt. And finally, you get maybe 3 or 4 hours of "bright direct sunlight" per day once you consider cosine error. (look up PVWatts and play with it)

So, that means: 3.25 m x 1000 w/m x 0.18 x 3.5 = ~ 2 kWh

In a Tesla that would get you maybe 10 km, and there's no way a "real" car of any description is *three times* as efficient. And it's likely smaller than a Forester too. So yeah, color me skeptical.

Comment Re:US is tops in freight rail (Score 2) 235

> but trucking was then deregulated, so it became cheaper to ship a lot of stuff by truck.

It has nothing to do with deregulation, and everything to do with time. You need to go watch them switch a railcar onto an industrial spur some time, it takes HOURS. The last one to go into Dominion Color, a single tanker car, took most of a day.

If your product has any time-dimension value, and they all do, then there is a price differential that means trucks are cheaper end-to-end. That line moves with the *relative* price of trains vs. trucks. Trains are cheaper than trucks, about 35% IIRC, but that's not enough to justify it unless you ship a LOT of stuff that can move from one siding to another. Like steel, or coal.

I seem to recall a study that said when diesel hits $4.00 a gallon an ungodly amount of freight suddenly moves to trains. I guess that's why the train companies are spending so much effort on truck-to-train systems, for that day when it might come.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 2) 235

> There, one is forced to use fossil fuels

But we can reduce it significantly. Especially in cars, where plug-in-hybrids can easily double (or more) average milage with basically zero effect on the way the car is used. Pure electric doesn't really help much on top of that.

> solar powered cars would be completely viable

Not possible. Literally.

A Tesla, which is actually pretty average, goes about 5 km on a kWh. At highway speeds, that's three minutes of driving. The S has a roof about 2 square meters. There are 1000 W per meter of sunlight under perfect conditions. That means in those 3 minutes you will collect about 2000 * 0.05 = 100 Wh of electricity, or about 0.5 km. So basically you're discharging 10 times as fast as you could possibly charge.

If you consider realistic conversion on the order of 10% (15% power conversion, 30% geometry losses), its more like 100 times. Even if you drive and then park, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to cover even the shortest transports. A garage roof covered in panels *might* do for people who do shopping and such.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 2) 235

> Air travel and air freight are the worst offenders for carbon output for work done.

So? If the goal is to reduce carbon, you start at the top. And that's car's.

We get equal carbon reduction by increasing car efficiency by 10% or increasing jet efficiency by 100%

Which do you think we should start on first?

Comment How is this supposed to be surprising? (Score 1) 207

I saw my first HDTV, a 42" Pioneer Elite plasma, during the 1998 winter olympics. It cost $24,000.

I bought my first HDTV, a Sharp 50" which I still have, circa 2006. It cost $2300.

4K has been out, what, a year for real? You can get name-brand 60" models at Cosco for $2300.

So basically what took about a decade to happen with HDTV happened in about a year in 4k.

So given that 4k is currently at the price point that made HDTV "break through", no, I don't find it at all surprising everyone is buying one. The delta in price is fairly minimal, and although there's little content today, if it lasts 10 years like my HDTV, then it's certainly not a bad deal.

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