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Submission + - G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up (

mspohr writes: The NY Times has an interesting article about GE "reinventing" itself as a software start-up.
"It may not qualify as a lightning-bolt eureka moment, but Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, recalls the June day in 2009 that got him thinking. He was speaking with G.E. scientists about new jet engines they were building, laden with sensors to generate a trove of data from every flight — but to what end?

That data could someday be as valuable as the machinery itself, if not more so. But G.E. couldn’t make use of it.

“We had to be more capable in software,” Mr. Immelt said he decided. Maybe G.E. — a maker of power turbines, jet engines, locomotives and medical-imaging equipment — needed to think of its competitors as Amazon and IBM."
They have a software center with 1,400 employees in San Ramon, Ca and are developing a new OS, Predix, designed to work with sensor data from machines.
"G.E.’s success or failure over the next decade, Mr. Immelt says, depends on this transformation. He calls it “probably the most important thing I’ve worked on in my career.”

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 2) 242

Further, even if you cut gas use in half, taking 200 years to burn it all instead of 100 years isn't going to change the total amount of gas burned, it will just take slightly longer, and from the climate's point of view, 100 years and 200 years are the same thing.

The only real solution to CO2 is to leave the oil in the ground and the only way to do that is to stop burning it completely. A small fraction of people driving EVs isn't going to change one very simple fact...


Now think about THAT for a minute... because unless you can change that, your Tesla doesn't change anything.


Finally, have you looked up what it would take to just stop CO2 from going up, much less to bring it back down? If you haven't, you might want to, the numbers are sobering. In short, we are WAY past the point of no return on runaway CO2 levels, there is zero chance that we're going to stop this at 500 or even 600 PPM CO2 levels. The changes required to do it are far too extreme and simply would not be acceptable to the masses.

I'm beginning to understand your position. I'm glad you understand that we need to stop burning fossil fuel and leave it all in the ground.
However, I am disappointed by your cynicism about what is possible. This is understandable and, at times, I too get completely discouraged and feel that we are way past the point of no return on runaway CO2. I do not feel that we should just give up and not try. It may be a futile effort but I think we should make the effort. When I bought my Tesla and solar PV, I (half in jest) said that I justified it because I was doing if for my granddaughter. The only hope we have is to switch from fossil fuels to renewables. We must make that effort and it starts with each individual making the effort. It may be futile. It may be too late... but we must make the effort.

Submission + - Nova Scotia wind turbine speeds out of control, collapses (

An anonymous reader writes: This large wind turbine failed on August 17. Before the 80-metre-tall wind turbine buckled and toppled over, Enercon officials confirm that workers were told to leave, the Toronto Star reports. In addition to their towering height, the turbines have a blade length of 40 metres, the CBC notes.

Fortunately the turbines operate in a wooded area away from residents, so no one was injured. An evacuation protocol was also put in place.

Enercon and Nova Scotia's provincial government are conducting investigations to determine if there were any safety violations at the time of the incident.

Another 10 turbines in the area remain in operation, unaffected by the collapse. The cause of the collapse remains unknown.

Submission + - Is LED, light-emitting diode, making DST, daylight saving time, obsolete?

Max_W writes: More and more countries stop using the DST, daylight saving time. These are India, China, Russia, Brazil, etc. The LED technology significantly reduces energy consumption on lighting. Do we really need this trouble of changing time on our clocks twice a year? Besides, the DST makes the software excessively complicated and prone to "fluid time" bugs.

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 1) 242

Let's see here:
- The old coal argument (lame)
An EV powered by 100% coal electricity would still emit less pollution than an ICE. However, of course, the US only gets about 35% of its electricity from coal and I get all of my electricity from solar so much less pollution.

Trying to understand your logic on the next part. You seem to be saying that since I've changed to a Tesla that it won't change anything. However, I haven't bought gasoline for 18 months so it definitely changed something. The more people who buy EVs, the less gasoline is used. Seems simple enough.

Comment Re:Why is this important or interesting? (Score 1) 80

Because they want to boil water and make steam, not just heat water. As you point out, anybody can heat water and that's not news. They built something that makes steam which is useful in many ways...
From TFA:
"Steam that is cheaply and simply produced could become a popular way to generate electricity. It could also be used to heat buildings, for industrial applications, or even to boil seawater or wastewater to distill pure, clean water—just as the hydrologic cycle generates rainwater."

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 5, Funny) 242

My Tesla is a far superior driving experience than any ICE car I have ever owned (i.e. Porsche, Audi, etc.). It is faster, quieter, smoother, better handling. Better in every way. There is no way I will ever buy an ICE car again.
The subsidy was a very small percentage of the cost and was not a factor in the purchase.
Whatever you do, don't take a Tesla test drive. It will make you hate your slow, noisy, polluting ICE car forever.

Comment Re:Young engineers ... (Score 5, Insightful) 242

It is said that Microsoft in the early days hired only young fresh software engineers so they wouldn't be corrupted by "old school" thinking.
These engineers went on to build software that re-created every mistake in the book about how and OS should be designed and implemented.

Submission + - A look back at 40 years of energy policy - predictions and reality (

mspohr writes: Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has written a review in Medium ( of his 1976 article (Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken where he reviews his predictions as well as government predictions for the energy future.
"At that teachable moment, my Foreign Affairs article “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?” reframed the energy problem and added an alternative vision of U.S. energy strategy. The “hard path” was more of the same; the “soft path” combined energy efficiency with a shift to renewable supply. The article soon became that venerable journal’s most-reprinted ever, spreading as virally as pre-Internet technologies permitted. Forty years later, a review of its initial reception and continued influence shows what lessons have and haven’t been learned."

"In contrast to the soft path’s dependence on pluralistic consumer choice in deploying a myriad of small devices and refinements, the hard path depends on difficult, large-scale projects requiring a major social commitment under centralized management. The hard path, sometimes portrayed as the bastion of free enterprise and free markets, would instead be a world of subsidies, $100-billion bailouts, oligopolies, regulations, nationalization, eminent domain, corporate statism.”

Interesting look back from the perspective of 40 years ago to see how energy use, policy, and supply have evolved.

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