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Comment What BS (Score 1) 205

"To wit: a common question we receive is, “Why did you send New Horizons to Pluto if it’s not a planet anymore?"

I call BS on this.

So there's all these people out there who are aware that Pluto exists, and that it was demoted to non-planet, and that we're sending a probe there, yet these same people cannot figure out why we would send a probe there? And these same people are also *unaware* that we send probes to things like the Moon and various asteroids, let alone deep space?

Suuuuuuureee.

Comment Re:Higher profit margins? (Score 1) 40

> A 'brand' is a stamp of quality, so mixing budget and premium products into one brand is generally a bad thing.

Indeed.

The problem is that making yourself a premium brand is hard, and expensive. And with Apple and Samsung already in that space, what does HTC have to offer to make themselves noticed?

I really think this is just the endgame of the market shaking itself out. I suspect that the leaders of today will be the leaders of tomorrow and everyone else will be either niche, low-end, or gone.

Comment Re:China and South Korea and Russia can do it (Score 5, Informative) 87

> Countries that want to and commit to building nuclear can do it well, on decent schedule and budget

Uhh, yeah.

Over the years, Russia has committed to building something like 50 reactors. After Chernobyl, that was reduced to something like 25. They have grand plans for a closed fuel cycle using breeder/burners and reprocessing, and lots of other ideas. So far they've successfully built three. The rest remain hopelessly overdue or completely unfunded. They have decommed as many as they've built since 2000.

China had big plans too, something between 50 and 100 reactors over a 25 to 45 year period. Then the 2008 Sichuan earthquake happened, and they learned that all the construction companies lied and cut corners practically everywhere. The famous school that collapsed only did so because the construction team couldn't be bothered to bend the end of the rebars in the vertical supports, which would have otherwise easily survived. This, needless to say, opened many people's eyes, and the plans have been scaled back to about 25 reactors.

However, these plans are very much in doubt. CNNC based much of its economic arguments on buying up old western designs and then selling them, with Chinese financing, around the world. This did not happen, no one is interested in building nuclear and sales have been rather limited. As a result, the government has been somewhat more interested in renewables, which everyone is buying, and the country has since become the largest installer of wind and solar on the planet. They install more PV in the last five years than the entire planned nuclear buildout.

Nuclear is dead. Siemens, Framitome, AECL, Westinghouse, Toshiba, B&W, BNFL, and on and on and on. The few remaining players are all on life support - GE looks very much like they'll end development with their current generation, Areva only remains alive due to repeated massive French taxpayer infusions, and CNNC's only prospects are local.

You can pretend this isn't true, and many people reply to my messages talking about all these paper plans, but to anyone that's actually worked in the energy industry, the CAPEX > $7.50 is a death knell and everyone knows it.

Comment Re:Is it good for a thousand cycles? (Score 1) 124

>after the thousandth charge-discharge cycle
Solid electrolytes are generally better at this, because you don't get the carriers migrating to places they don't come out of again. And in this case, if it does prevent dendrite formation, which would seem likely for the same reasons, then the other "sudden loss" avenue is gone as well. At first glance you should expect such a battery to last longer.

Comment Re:ICE (Score 1) 124

>They say 'half charge in 20 mins at a superstation' That gets me ~150 miles. In my current ICE car
> that would take 4-5 gallons depending on how I drive it. I can get 5 gallons in 5 mins easy

This is not a problem, this is a GIGANTIC OPPORTUNITY. If I was Tim Horton's I'd be building charger stations at every location on a highway. A captive audience who has to spend 20 minutes waiting on the side of the highway for something? My god man, think of it!

Layouts would have to change. Lots more seating, less drive-through in relative terms.

Comment Re:Thanks, Obama (Score 1) 364

> How come France can afford it for the last 40 years

Do you mean nuclear power? They can't, it's been repeatedly bailed out with massive injections of taxpayer money, about once a decade. The most recent was just last year, when Areva was essentially bankrupt (again). The rest of the industry, in France, Germany and the UK, all bailed long ago.

Comment Re:Energy payback time (Score 1) 364

> As late as 2016, the guys selling solar panels talked about an average national break-even

*COST* break-even, not energy break-even. Come on.

> I still find it hard to believe a worst case of 1.4 years. Does that take into account the total energy cost
> including transportation of raw materials and finished products, installation, cabling, batteries and meters?

Yes. There's this thing called "google", why don't you try it out?

> I'd expect the range to be at least an order of magnitude in difference. :rolleyes:

A 1k array in Tonopah will make about 1700 kWh per year (after all derates). The same system in Fairbanks makes just over 1030. That's less than a factor of 2, and due entirely to weather. Everyone has 12 hours a day, on average, over a year.

http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

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