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New Jersey Removes Legal Impediment To Direct Tesla Sales 85

As reported by The Verge, the rule-makers of New Jersey have relented, and will now allow a slightly freer market for cars. Almost exactly one year after it was banned from selling its cars directly in New Jersey, Tesla will be back in business in the Garden State. Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill this afternoon that reversed last year's ban. The new legislation comes with some limits. Tesla can only open a total of four direct sale dealerships and has to operate at least one service center. But it's a major win following a heated war of words that saw Tesla CEO Elon Musk compare local dealers to a mafia protection racket subverting the democratic process.

Comment Re:Gigawatts per hour (Score 1) 461

Right on. That bugs the heck out of me. It's bad enough that a news outlet does it, but then for Slashdot to re-post that without correction is irritating. Gigawatts per hour is a meaningless unit unless you're talking about the rate of capacity installation or production, which this article clearly isn't. Where they get this unit from is beyond me, but it shows up very frequently.

It's almost as bad as when reporters compare two batteries of very different voltages and configurations based on their charge (in mAh). Basic electricity and magnetism really should be mandatory for everyone, but people who write about it for a living have absolutely no excuse.

Comment Gigawatt Per Year?? (Score 1) 262

I know it's in the original article, but one gigawatt per year??? Someone doesn't understand energy. That's a rate of growth of capacity, not a capacity. I'm guessing what was intended was "one gigawatt hour per year" which is a measure of energy produced in one year. Divide by the number of hours in a year and you have the average power output.

Comment Re:Wrong by 5 orders of magnitude (Score 1) 90

I think the intent was "its eponymous management system runs globally on roughly 229,300 solar plants that typically pump out [5.66TWh] of electrical energy [annually]." It makes more sense to average over a long period of time with solar which is presumably what they were doing. A smart editor would have caught that.

Comment Hemispheres (Score 1) 5

So, a partial sphere would work, but a hemisphere would be less effective. The reason being that part of the design ethos here is to be able to collect sunlight as the sun moves without moving the collector. That implies that the cross-section perpendicular to the sun must have maximum surface area. My understanding is that the sun completes nearly a 180 degree arc during the day, making at least most of a sphere necessary for maximum efficiency.

Comment Where's the harm? (Score 1) 246

Seriously, when I hear conspiracy theory crap like this, even if it's true, you've still got to tell me what the harm is if more people have access to treatment, even though some of them might not need it. It's the same with autism diagnosis: they favor the diagnosis over not giving it because it allow the child access to therapy which can significantly improve outcomes. If you're going to err, overdiagnosis for these disorders is a reasonable direction to lean, much safer than underdiagnosing them. And especially when there's no definitive test.

Comment Re:Orders of magnitude errors dont inspire confide (Score 5, Insightful) 534

Wait, there's a debate about whether or not the climate is warming? That's news to me. There's certainly a debate about exactly how quickly it's rising, which is something the scientists have not expressed certainty about. But the fact that the planet is warming as well as the question of the main cause very well studied, well demonstrated and not heavily debated among scientists.

Science really isn't about confidence. It's about evidence. If holding the line, even when you know you're wrong, is what makes people feel confident, it's no wonder they turn to religion. But I'm personally thankful that at least one discipline isn't afraid to publish results that contradict earlier findings, if that's where the evidence leads.

As someone who understands this process, findings like this lend tremendous credibility to the scientific community, and yes, boost my confidence in the work they're doing and the integrity of the published results. It's what makes science the best method we know of for understanding reality.

Comment Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 336

Well, one of the best arguments for upgrading from a system that old is computation power per watt. It costs a lot to run a very old power-hungry system to do something that a tiny micro-controller can do today for fractions of a penny on the dollar in power consumption. You're paying an exorbitant rate per CPU cycle with something like a PDP-11.

That doesn't quite equate to it always being worthwhile to replace a dated system. In some applications, it is critical that a well tested software/hardware combo not be messed with. I suspect this is one of those cases, where the difficulties and cost in maintaining such a system are deemed more economical than the alternatives.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

Funny...CFLs are responsible for much less mercury emissions than traditional light bulbs if you count the mercury released during generation in even moderately coal rich generating mixes. They're not in any sense worse for the environment. Not that I'm an environmentalist...I've just taken the time to look into the topic.

Comment Sits on a bit of a shaky premise (Score 1) 139

The latest research I'm familiar with says the Neanderthals probably never went extinct at all, but rather inter-bread into larger human populations and essentially merged with humans. The large eyes thing might have played a role, but I don't see how since the premise that they became extinct due to a weakness (or at all) isn't broadly accepted anymore.

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