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Comment Re:Other than the "liquid fuels" part... (Score 1, Informative) 163

A tree is less than 1% efficient. A solar panel is about 20% efficient.

How is it "only" 1% efficient? I can't find the exact reference at the moment but I think I heard that photosynthesis is ~99% efficient (Take that with a grain of salt since that is relying on my memory).

Apparently it appears some complicated quantum effects take place in the photosynthesis process. Some info is presented on (possible) quantum behaviour in biology by Prof Jim Al-Khalili in in this Royal Institution Lecture

Comment Re:Wise move? (Score 1) 59

For comparison a normal L2 32A (single phase) charger costs about the same with installation. Tesla must be subsidising their's.

I wish everyone could agree on a standard for charging. In the UK we have L2 "commando" style and Chademo 50kW, but also 20kW CCS. Then Tesla have their own thing as well, and the adapter for Chademo is rubbish (it charges very slowly).

By L2 commando, do you mean the type 2 Mekennes plug (image: ?

To make things even more complicated, there are quite a number of 3-pin (240V, 13amp) public charging posts as well.

Comment Re:Talk to us first if you wish to patent the chan (Score 1) 63

You've made my point for me.

And any informed patent holder knows that any violation must be prosecuted, or the validity of the patent evaporates.

No, that's just the ignorance of the uninformed that "everybody knows", but it's wrong. You don't lose your patent from failing to enforce it. You might be confusing it with trademarks, which can go into the public domain if you allow them to become generic terms rather than specific brands. And you can sometimes lose the capability of being able to enforce against a specific infringer if you hold back until the market develops, that's the Doctrine of Laches. But you don't lose your patent. Nor would you lose your copyright due to failure to enforce.

True you won't lose the patent, but there is a time limit on suing an infringer, isn't there?

Anyway, given that textbooks often discuss MIPS, good to see something being offered to Academia.

Comment Re:Shouldn't they be after Google? (Score 1) 148

>complaint that some Kyocera phone features that come from its use of the Android operating system infringe Microsoft's patents.

Wouldn't that mean Microsoft should be going after Google, and not Kyocera? Google produces the software, after all.

IANAL and I didn't check the details, but if MS are trying to use the International Trade Commission path, then that body can only block the import of products into the US which are determined to be infringing their patents, hence they target the manufactures/importers.

Comment Re:Smart people are jerks? (Score 1) 194

They stood on the shoulders of people like Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski and many others who cracked Enigma with Polish ingenuity. They were the ones who originally had the audacity to think that they could crack the world's most sophisticated cypher technology with the meagre resources the Polish cypher bureau had.

That's true in part, but, IIRC, the Polish break relied on the original insecure operating practice that the Germans soon removed. The operator had to choose a "random" 3 letter session key. Using the day's settings, they'd transmit that key twice in a row (presumably because they were worried that errors might creep in), before adjusting the machine rotors to the session key and encrypting the message. Transmitting the key twice was a major security flaw, which the Polish attack relied on.

IIRC, the German army soon realised their error, and stopped the repetition of the key. This made breaking enigma much harder, which is where Welch(?) and Turing come in.

Comment Re:should five per cent appear to small (Score 1) 164

Actually VAT is 15-20% in the EU. We like it that way, it pays for stuff like our socialised healthcare and affordable/free education.

I think you'll find the GP was quoting The Beatles' "Taxman". At the time, the group were in a 95% tax bracket, the 5% being what they were left with!!

Comment Re:Charging amperage (Score 1) 395

Charge car battery up to 70% in 2 minutes? Dare you calculate the amperage needed? Somewhere in the ballpark of 10000A in 12V? That would do it, melting all wires in the connection.

You're thinking of standard lead-acid car batteries for ICEs.

Charging stations operate at "slightly" higher voltages: See Charge point basics for details on European ones.

EG, of the faster AC ones, ~40kW, for example, use 3-phase power at around (_IIRC_) 450V.

Comment Re:And another question (Score 1) 144

Yeah, wow, I didn't realize that form was so relatively recent. I had thought that's what soccer balls were "always" like. (From the Wikipedia page, they actually came out before 1970..)

They probably started as nothing more than an inflated animal bladder, but I do recall seeing one of these http://comeheretome.files.word...

Comment Re:Why so many trucks? Why not railroads (Score 1) 242

No the reason is that trucks don't pay fairly for the road wear while train's have to pay for rail wear. Do you think any politicians would dare try to enforce a tax based on vehicle weight. Nor do they pay for the new roads which are built for passenger cars...

Given that road damage is apparently proportional to the 4th power of axle weight (too lazy to put in link to wikipedia), it seems unlikely anyone would be brave enough to push that legislation... but it'd make railways more attractive.

Comment Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (Score 1) 235

The hit isn't a very big one:

"with the hardware offload the battery lasted up to 36% longer"

And with each faster processor generation, the difference gets smaller and smaller still.

Followed the link but couldn't see where it showed actual power consumption of the hardware decoder they used (their own I guess?) but given that an ARM CPU might consume around 500mW whereas an H.264 hardware decoder doing HD uses 10mW, either the screen is using a huge amount of power or their hardware leaves a bit to be desired.

Comment Re:Independence of the courts ? (Score 2) 234

If you found a way to make a fan that blows air out of potato chips, in principle that would not be patentable, because you just "stuck together" two existing things; fans and potato chips. It doesn't do anything novel.

Funny you should mention fans given Dyson's recent innovations. Dyson had to massage the wording of the patent quite massively to get their patent for the Air-Multiplier fan, not surprising given how it was invented by Toshiba in the 80s

"Massaging"?? Having just read that news report, it seems they just needed to include other inventive features of the design in the patent, which probably just means the claims had to be 'narrowed' to include that feature.

I don't see any issue with that. There is nothing wrong with patenting an improvement to an existing invention as long as it's non-trivial.

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