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Comment How long can it recover energy? (Score 1) 324

To me it seems a bit of a time limited system. If energy is reclaimed by rolling the train down hill there are two options: Either the train has to go really slow or the ramp has to be really long if you want to reclaim that energy in a reasonable long time. I can't imagine that let's say 15 minutes is enough time to catch up with top demand, a train rolling for 15 minutes at some speed needs a long track and thus a lot of space. If the speed were 15 km/h you would need a ramp of almost 4 km, an hour would need about 16 km.

As a poster before me already mentioned, flywheels could do the same trick, take less space and are likely more efficiënt.

Comment Re:Voltage vs insulation (Score 1) 169

The DC bus is likely at a lower voltage than typical AC circuits, therefore less able to cause electrocution.

It's not the voltage that kills, it's the current. As little as 100mA is fatal if it crosses the heart. And if you want to work with lower voltage for the same job that means the current must be higher.

The higher current goes to the equipment the powerlines are connected to. But that current will not affect YOU in any way. However, if you happen to touch a low voltage line, the current through your body will be lower (Ohm's law) than when you touch a high voltage line. Hence, low voltage is safer.
Try taking the poles of a car battery (12V) in your hands and prodding your electrical outlet (110/230V) with two metal rods to feel the difference. Don't do it the other way round, chances are you won't be able to do the second experiment.
(And where is comes to current: your car battery is able to deliver >100A, while your outlet will be fused for about 16A (in Europe, 230V)).

Comment Re:Give them time (Score 1) 33

Or just let them be kids and give them exposure to a lot of things and let them decide what they're interested in instead of trying to force them down a particular path. There are plenty of avenues of success (both emotional and financial) that don't involve engineering or electronics.

Apparently you haven't (in good /. tradition) rtfa. The kids loved working on it and were interested in electronics. Both learned a lot of this project, had lots of fun and now know that thinking up something is not the same as instantly making it, and that for making it one has to make choices of what it can, and can't do.
All very useful in real life and none of it 'forced down' to them.

Comment Re:So far so good. (Score 1) 211

The product itself was OK (mainly Thinkpads, the good, old ones) and Toshiba laptops (not as good as IBM (then!), but still not bad). But if a 'repair engineer' has a few screws left over after a 'repair' and/or screws in the wrong places and/or the wiring of the WiFi and BT just laying around inside, I can't call it a repair. And often the original fault was not properly taken care of either.
One of my tasks under the manager before this one was quality control and I have seen all the afore mentioned, and it were always the same people. I am still wondering why those were kept working there, but they were the guys who became 'employee of the month' under this manager,, because they did the most 'repairs' on a day. Competent techs were berated, because their production rate was behind those of the incompetents.
And owning stock in the company??? Nah...just wage slaves at work, but increasing the number of unsatisfied customers is never a good idea. We had enough work as it was, and most of us wanted to do it well. But explaining this 'manager' why a good repair takes more time than a bad one and how a good, definitive repair would positively affect the name of IBM/Toshiba, was useless. All that counted was the number of computers that you ticked off in a week, and an 80% recall rate (under warranty!) was just an increased number of repairs.
(A few months later, IBM, who had taken over this shop, decided to sell it to another company in GB that closed our shop in the Netherlands. If that had not happened, I think it would have tanked on its own under this management).

Comment Re:So far so good. (Score 1) 211

I find it hard to believe that a business based on repairing computers didn't care about how well you repaired computers.

So did we. But this guy (called Peter, there is no such thing as coincidence), was literally just interested in numbers. If you handled 15 laptops a day you were, in his eyes, better than when you repaired 10, because 15 > 10. How well you did it didn't interest him.
Why do you think the competent repair engineers who put efford in their work to REPAIR and deliver good work (which takes more time, thus less repairs per week), hated this guy?

Comment Re:So far so good. (Score 2) 211

From a business perspective your asshole manager was right. More repairs=good, doubly good if the repair actually breaks something else leading to repeat business. From an ethical or professional standard he was, well, an asshole.

You might be right if the repairs were not under warranty. But most were, so they cost the company money. And even if the repairs were not under warranty, bad repairs leads to unsatisfied customers and an unsatisfied customer will think twice before buying that brand ever again and will tell everyone to avoid it, while a good repair will lead to a better image and more sales. On the long term, the last will work better.

Comment Re:So far so good. (Score 4, Interesting) 211

I have had a manager like that, in a computer repair firm. Before he was thrust upon us by IBM (Incredible Bureaucratic Machine), morale on the workfloor was excellent, but he managed to get it down to far below zero in no time. He literally told us that 'He did not know what happened on the workfloor, he did not need to know and he did not want to know.' All he looked at was figures: the more repairs one wrote up, the better.
So, someone who just slammed the parts of a laptop together, had a few screws left and just looked if it did switch on after that, got a better qualification than someone who carefully reassembled one and tested the machine before sending it back to the customer. The first did more 'repairs' on a day (but most of those came back because the machines were still broken), the last hardly ever had a re-repair, but trying to explain that on a performance review was totally useless.
Needless to say that every competent repair engineer in the shop hated the guy's guts...

Comment Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1) 218

You won't find me in favour of the European Union in its current form, rather the contrary. The EU as it is now, is totally in favour of Big Business, with 'Teh Holey EconoME' as an excuse to break down the excellent systems many of the individual countries had in place, to enable poorer and thouroughly corrupt states like Italy and some former East block states to partake in the system, making it possible to play out workers against each other and sucking funds from richer countries.
I am for European coöperation, but not in its current form, which threatens to go the way you describe in your last paragraph.

Comment Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 2) 218

...Says the AC...

It's not 'I'll pay more if someone else worries about it', It is 'we all CARE about each other and we all contribute to each other's wellbeing'. But that concept is apparently totally strange to right-wingers, who have only one thought: ME, ME, ME! and their only concern is about Me, Myself and I.

Comment Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1) 218

If a party promises (before elections) to keep things as they are and to defend the good things and people vote for that party based on those promises, the voters clearly signal that they are happy with things as they are. If said party turns around a 180 degrees after elections, their voters are duped.

If the voters had been a bit smarter they could have seen it coming but said party *had* a lot of traditional voters. It is now (rightfully) going down the drain. Alas, the party will probably have two more years to go to demolish our formerly so nice country.

Comment Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1, Flamebait) 218

Here in Europe, we used to have this little thing called 'Solidarity'. Sharing the costs that everybody risked to have to make and yes, some of it (or hopefully most of it) you'd never need. But IF you came in a situation, it would not cost you two arms, a leg and half your ribcage, but you'd be covered and everybody would be happy.
The American inspired 'ME, ME, ME, MEEEEE!!!!'-culture is taking over now, and the total costs are going up for everybody (as I said in my previous post), while service levels are dropping. Not, of course, if you have shovelfulls of money, than you can pay extra for the levels of service that used to be reachable for all and better

Yes, things were subsidized then, but if you really believe taxes went down after delivering us to commercial interests, keep on dreaming... (Except of course for those poor super-rich schmuks, after all, you can't stop subsidizing their million-Euro villa's which costs just twice as much as all subsidized rent for minimum wages combined)..

Comment Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1) 218

It couldn't possibly be because they were dissatisfied with the existing situation.

No, they were not. They were duped by parties who promised to do A but did Z when elected. Those parties told everyone that everything had to be left to the market by command of the European Union, while they knew that not to be the case. It was pushed through by the right wing parties with the help of some semi left wing and centre parties, where the first mentioned mostly talk left wing at election time but act right wing inbetween elections and support the right wing shit.
Problem is the electorate is so stupid they remember only the rethorics spewed from at most two month before elections and forget about the actual actions of the parties involved. And the rich keep laughing, since most things are going their way for the last decade...

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