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Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 180

Finally, you can't shave *that* much weight off the car even if you stopped worrying about crashworthiness altogether; you can only make a steel box for 4/5 people so light, and still make it ride nicely, not be noisy inside, have comfortable seats, be able to fit people over 6' tall, etc.

As a first step you could roll back vehicle weights to what they were 40 years ago. You can also shift from steel to lighter materials, and you can eliminate the entire engine compartment (using small hub motors instead) so you can simply chop away much of the existing vehicle. Further, in an autonomous-vehicle world, it seems very likely that individual vehicle ownership will largely become a thing of the past, so you wouldn't have to have a box for 4/5 people except on the occasions you actually have to transport 4/5 people. Of course, the smaller you make the vehicle the less surface you have for solar panels, unless you have something like a highly-streamlined "solar umbrella" which is larger than the vehicle.

As for solar panels, again, no, it's completely impossible. At highway speeds, you need tens of horsepower to overcome air resistance.

Depends on streamlining, and on what "useful speed" means (you said highway speed, not me -- the solar challenge vehicles go much faster than bicycles but not highway speeds), and on how much you can rely on batteries. I know I said "from on-board solar panels" but didn't mean to preclude the idea that the vehicle also has batteries. If the vehicle is parked in sunlight a significant portion of each day to charge the batteries, and it's very light and has very low air and rolling resistance... it may be possible that it can operate usefully without charging from an external source. Or perhaps just without very much external charging.

Also, you're implicitly assuming that the vehicle must overcome air resistance by itself. That needn't be true with autonomous vehicles at highway speeds, which could close up into big trains drafting off of one another. Perhaps the vehicles in the train could even join electrically or physically, so that the lead and trail vehicles don't have to draw down their batteries to maintain speed.

There are options, and I don't think the possibility should be dismissed out of hand. It's a stretch, certainly.

Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 180

Electric cars are a fad. The biggest problem is what do you do with all the batteries? Sure you can recycle them, but they will all eventually die. Then what..?

Among other things, EV batteries are going to have a long life as home electricity storage batteries. After a decade or so of use in a vehicle, a battery will have lost ~30% of its capacity. That sucks because it means you have a lot of dead weight to haul around. But it's not nearly as much of a concern to have it parked in the corner of your garage or basement. A couple of old EV batteries would be fantastic for time shifting rooftop solar production to match home consumption. And in that usage model, you should be able to get several more decades of use out of a battery.

And then, recycling... which provides access to high-value raw materials much less expensively than mining.

Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 180

High fuel prices punish the people who are already struggling, on tight budgets. If they need to drive a vehicle for any kind of delivery or taxi job (Uber, Lyft, etc.) - it means their costs go up, because they can't just "drive less".

That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, it just means that it shouldn't be done too quickly or without warning. People can adapt, by moving where they live, by relocating businesses, by switching to telecommuting, by carpooling, using mass transit (which may require transit buildout) etc. (and taxis can simply raise their prices to account for the higher fuel costs -- or switch to electrics). The key is to give people time to adapt, and let them know that they need to.

IMO, we should implement a schedule of federal fuel tax increases. The increases should start very gently, but then get steeper, much steeper, and everyone should know they're coming well in advance. And the taxes collected should be invested in renewable and mass transportation.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 180

You can't, unless you're proposing to have vehicles that can't go faster than bicycle speed. The size and weight of modern cars stems directly from crash-safety requirements.

Crash-safety requirements are necessary only because cars crash. When we mandate fully-autonomous vehicles, crashes will be reduced to a miniscule fraction of what they are, because they'll occur only in cases of severe mechanical failure or some non-vehicle object on the roadway (big rocks, etc.). Effectively, we'll move the crash safety assurance from heavy steel to lightweight sensor, communications and computing equipment.

I'm not sure if cars can be made lightweight enough to operate at useful speed from on-board solar panels, but we will be able to get much, much closer than we are now.

Comment Re:Clickbait? (Score 1) 136

I largely play "Idle" games these days, lacking the time to really get into much more involved than that... And even there you'll find a die-hard community that considers anything other than manually sitting there for hours at a time and clicking furiously as "cheating" (in games where the core mechanic amounts to "level up your resource-producers and come back tomorrow to do it again").

Mind you, many such games' devs have gone so far as to provide straightforward javascript hooks solely for the purpose of more efficient botting; but, good luck arguing that with a purist.

/ (and show me a human who claims to legitimately have the "click a million times" achievement in any game, and I'll show you a liar with an autoclicker. ;)

Comment And IMDB cares about this *why*, exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 254

"Registrant Organization: IMDb.com, Inc.
Registrant Street: Legal Dept, PO Box 81226,
Registrant City: Seattle
Registrant State/Province: WA"

Dear California: How about "go fuck yourself". That a good answer?

Oh, you don't want IMDB operating in your state? Perhaps you could build some sort of Great Firewall. That's worked out so well for China (and North Korea).

Comment I doubt Hollywood has an age discrimination issue (Score 4, Insightful) 254

It seems unlikely to me that Hollywood has an age discrimination issue. It seems much more likely that Hollywood has a looks discrimination policy, and merely hiding the numeric age of an actor or actress isn't going to resolve this.

If an actor doesn't look the age for a part, they're not going to get the role. Trying to hide their "real" age won't help with that. Nothing short of completely changing Hollywood culture - and, really, American culture - to not be so youth-focused will change that. And that's not an easy task, and certainly not something this law will help with.

This is clearly a "this is something, so we're doing something about the problem!" law. It won't help in any way, but at least it's a bullet point on some lawmaker's resume!

Comment Re:One of those sounds potentially useful.... (Score 1) 33

Back in my college days, we had a saying about student-run experimental design: "Psychology is the study of females ages 18 to 22 with above-average intellect and an interest in psychology".

Although that does mean you need to eventually check your results on a larger, more random pool of participants, it doesn't flat-out make those first-round results invalid. It just means you can get (at least) two papers out of the same results, verifying (or refuting) the external validity of the initial results. ;)

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