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Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 1) 217

I'm sure if climate scientists were in charge of things they would "put up". But they're not; politicians are, and politicians naturally worry more about being b lamed for action more than being blamed for inacdtion. They'd rather be forced to spend a trillion dollars than choose to spend a hundred billion.

But even if you are willing to take the hit as a politician, you can't do it alone. You need to bring other politicians around, and the public around as well. If you can't take effective steps right away, you take what you can. This gets people working on CO2 reduction technologies and businesses, and builds a constituency for more steps. It's like stopping a cattle stampede. You can't make the entire herd stop and change direction at once, you get the lead cows heading in a slightly different direction.

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 3, Informative) 217

Of course, the problem with focusing exclusively on the costs of trying to stop or (more realistically) slow climate change implicitly assumes that inaction won't cost us anything. In fact we're looking at costs either way. We're in a minimax kind of situation: how do we minimize the maximum costs?

There's also another wrinkle to this, which is that costs (and indeed profits -- every misfortune profits someone) aren't distributed evenly. The key determinant of how much you have to pay for or profit from climate change is how mobile your capital is. If you're a Bengladeshi subsistence farmer you're going to take +2C right on the chin. If you're a Wall Street bank you take your investments out of farms which are going to lose productivity in the next ten years or so shift to underwriting the opening of new farms in newly favorable places. In other words you make money going and coming. Likewise if you own multiple homes your risk from local changes is spread out. If the lion's share of your nest egg is in a house that is in the new 20 year floodplain or in the range of a newly endemic zoonosis, you're screwed.

So even if you can't avoid +2C without climate engineering (which might not be such a bad thing), getting there in ten years instead of twenty or thirty makes a huge difference. And beyond 2C, there are other benchmarks beyond that we don't want to hit in a hurry.

This is not a black-and-white situation: that we had our chance to do something and now there is nothing we can do. We had our chance to avoid this situation and now we're talking about how much time we'll have to adapt.

Comment Re:Is this the same "One Decade" we were promised. (Score 2) 217

The "hiatus" in global warming was produced by choosing 1998 as the baseline year. Why was 1998 a good year to use as a baseline? Because it was, by far, the hottest year on record when it happened, shattering the previous record (1997) by 0.13C.

Now this is a news for nerds site, so I don't have to explain why cherrypicking an outlier as your baseline is dishonest. People who swallowed that are either dishonest or mathematical ignoramuses.

I will go out on a limb right now and say that since El Niño has passed an next year will be less warm, sometime around 2020 we'll be hearing "No significant warming since 2016."

Comment Re: Oh noes!!!!11111 (Score 1) 428

Well, you could argue that the reason you have to push women to enter coding as a career is that they're also being pushed to aim high on the career ladder.

That was the thing that made me laugh at the whole Barbie "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" fracas. Oh, it was sexist alright -- against men. Here's how I construe that story: Barbie is an entrepreneur who obtains free commodity coding and sysadmin labor from her male pals and yet retains total ownership of the resulting intellectual property. It's a cynical way of doing business, but that girl is going places.

Here is where they'll be in ten years:

Stephen -- works as a network admin where the pay is lousy and everyone treats him like shit. Despite the fact he hates his job, he's terrified that it will be outsourced.

Brian -- works as a coder. His pay looks pretty good, until you factor in the hours he puts in to meet deadlines management pulls out of its ass, the cost of his Bay Area apartment, and the time he spends commuting on the clogged freeway. He gets through the day with Adderall he scores of the neighbor's kid and comes down every night with booze. His apartment is full of expensive sports equipment he doesn't have time to use anymore. He's gained fifty pounds since he was in High School and will gain another fifty in the next five years. Brain can live with all this, but the thing that really bothers him is that when he does a great job, nobody cares.

Barbie -- Sold her girl-power themed indie computer game studio for millions, landing her on the cover of Time's "30 Entrepreneurs under 30" issue. She parlays this into a senior VP position at a hot social media startup, and after cashing out on the IPO joins an angel investor group. She's currently bankrolling research in parthenogenesis.

Comment Re:Technical OR legislative? (Score 2) 299

Then small companies can no longer make any IoT product.

Not necessarily. It depends on what your standards and rules are.

Sure, you could write the rules in such a way that only big companies can afford to comply with them. It doesn't mean you have to. What's more rules could actually ensure small companies could remain competitive by creating safe harbors if you do certain things. Believe me there are lawsuits coming in the future, whether there is legislative or regulatory action or no. It would go a long way toward keeping the little guy competitive if he could point to rules that he was supposed to follow and did. This would socialize the cost novel attack vectors evenly rather than distribute the costs stochastically.

Eliminating the low-hanging fruit could make IoT devices reasonably safe, and "reasonable" is a much more attainable goal than "absolutely". Everyone fails at "absolutely", but only big companies can afford to bear the cost of that failure.

As for stuff getting designed in China, it's the low prices, period. I actually evaluated some Chinese radio linked flow meters a few years ago -- they were intended for metering liquor being poured in casinos (where the "free drinks" paid for by the casinos are acdtually paid for by a subcontractor and poured by a bartender who lives on tips). We wanted to adapt them for pesticide flow metering. The guy we were working with was selling these gizmos at $200, but they arrived on his US loading dock from China all boxed and ready to ship out to customers at a wholesale price of about $3. I was astonished. That's why stuff like that doesn't get made in the first world anymore, it's the jaw-droppingly low wholesale prices. Quality wasn't great, but with a $197 margin you can afford to ship replacements out for free.
Adding regulatory compliance costs to a device like that actually favors domestic producers.

Comment Re:Easy Solution (Score 5, Interesting) 96

That could be an interesting legal paradox. Build two identical drones and have them take off at the exact same time filming each other, then send in the video as evidence of a crime. Because they were used to document a crime, both were legal; but then there was no crime being committed, so they weren't being used to document a crime, and were thus illegal... and thus both were documenting a crime, and thus legal...

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 2) 163

the improvements have been minor in battery tech... the main improvement has been in lowering energy use in the chips (shrinking mainly)

Flatly contradicted by comparing old batteries with new, amp hours vs. volume and mass. For the past couple decades, batteries have doubled in energy density once every 8 years or so. Do you perchance have an old cell phone lying around at home? Check out its amp-hour rating and see how big/heavy it is compared to the amp hour rating and size/mass of your current cell phone's battery.

and the article say's nothing about 10x, so yes this is bullshit..

No, it is not. The maximum theoretical energy density of li-air is about 10x that of the maximum theoretical for LCO/graphite li-ion.

The problem is chemistry, no matter how much you want to believe it's possible to make a battery that is anywhere near as energy dense as gasoline, the chemistry say's no!!

Once again, false. The maximum gravimetric energy density for li-air is comparable to gasoline (12kWh/kg vs. 13kWh/kg) in the charged state, and significantly better in the discharged state. Now, you don't ever achieve the maximum for a particular chemistry, or even close to it. But then again, for a given amount of EV range, you don't have to, as electric drivetrains are 3-5x more efficient than ICE drivetrains.

Of course, neither of these are actual impediments to EV adoption; nobody gives a rat's arse whether a battery pack is physically larger or heavier than a gas tank (partially or completely offset by the reduced drivetrain mass). The real impediment is price. That said, if cost per unit mass/volume remains the same and energy density improves, then cost per watt hour improves as well.

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 1) 163

Wow, unreferenced rant someone added at the bottom - clearly you've got me there!

Try googling those quotes. The first one is only people quoting Wikipedia. The second one, I downloaded the paper and the conclusion says just the opposite ("A huge interest expressed by the scientific community in the development of Li-air battery is the demand of modern automotive industry. We have identified four major areas. If properly addressed, this technology may enter the commercial phase in the near future." (immediately after going into a wide range of papers on dealing with each of these four topics))

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 5, Informative) 163


And I'm telling you that lithium-ion batteries are not a "single tech", that they've dramatically improved in power and energy density (both volumetric and gravimetric) over time. And if you doubt this, I repeat: go find and older lithium-ion battery and compare it to a new one.

As for li-air, yes, the maximum energy density of li-air is about 10x of the maximum of li-ion. Namely because it works by direct oxidation rather than intercalation, so you don't need the mass of the matrix into which the ions get intercalated. It is not a "magical tech". It exists. Like all technologies in all fields, however, you have to reach production specs. This means not only maintaining a combination of safety, reliability, longevity, efficiency, temperature range, power density (charge and discharge) and energy density, but also affordability in mass production. And to be able to guarantee that you can do all of these things to a high enough level for investors to take the risk.

As with all technologies, you start out with promise in one or two fields, but serious problems in many others that you have to deal with. With time you refine them, until all of refined to a state where the product is commercialized. Li-air has actually been advancing quite well. In the early days one of its biggest problems were efficiency and longevity, but they've made huge strides in both in recent years. Lithium sulfur still looks nearer term, but commercialization of Li-air appears to have gone from "possible" to "quite probable".

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