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Comment Roads belong underground (Score 2) 184

I've long thought that ultimately roads should be underground. I would absolutely love to live in a subdivision with underground roads. Think how wonderful it would be to walk outside your house and only have walking and bicycle paths! In the winter, you would never have to worry about icy roads or snow plows, which also means you would have vastly fewer potholes in the roads.

We've already learned to put much of our other infrastructure underground. My neighborhood has all the wires buried. The only reason older neighborhoods still have above ground wires is the cost of burying them.

Cost.

Yup, that's the only problem here. I fear that even if the boring of the tunnel were free, the cost of tunnels would be prohibitive in most situations (you have to build a secure wall and ceiling, and you have to install a ventilation system along with lighting). I suppose if your boring machine had a built-in fusion reactor, it could melt what it bores through and create a nice solid shell and even leave a nice road surface. If you only allow electric cars in the tunnels, you can forego the ventilation system.

I think this is still science fiction for now, but if anyone can figure out how to make it work with technology that can be built today, it's Elon Musk.

Comment Change how tickets are sold (Score 5, Interesting) 221

If the tickets are being sold for $60, but people are willing to pay $150, then why aren't they offered first for $150? I see the big problem being the middlemen sucking money out without adding value. Let the entertainers get that money.

If I were in charge of tickets for something like a pro sports team, the system I would use would be to put the tickets on sale at some ridiculous price, and announce that the price would drop 1% every four hours, or something like that. Then if you want the perfect seats and don't care that they're $1000, you can get your pick on the first day. Wait a few weeks, and they're $500. Wait until the day of the game, and anything left is $20. There's no need to set different prices on the better seats--they will sell earlier at a higher price.

A system like that would make scalping at a profit nearly impossible.

Comment Re:Sigh. How many major standards wars is this? (Score 3, Interesting) 72

We need new standards when the old standards are insufficient. Tesla developed their own standard because there wasn't anything else fast enough (CHAdeMO is slower). CCS is designed to work as an extension to the standard J1772 level-2 (240V) chargers, and I think it's faster.

The good news is that it should be possible to create adaptors. Tesla already has CHAdeMO adaptors, and I suspect CSS adaptors will be available soon. I would suspect that CHAdeMO and CSS will have adaptors for each other at some point. For the short term, it means carrying around extra cables, but eventually it will be all sorted out.

Comment Airport charging (Score 4, Insightful) 72

Why add lots of charging stations at airports? When people are leaving their cars for multiple days, they don't need a 240v charger or anything fancy. All that's needed is a simple electrical outlet. Even a Tesla could recharge fully in four days from a standard wall outlet. Put your level-2 charging stations in places where people shop or work and will only be parked for a few hours. Put the level-3 charging stations along highways where people need to charge quickly.

Of course, the need for public charging stations decreases as the range of the cars increases. When the standard range is over 200 miles, most people can do all their non-travel charging at home. You don't need chargers at shopping centers and offices (though I still hear about people with crazy 100+ mile commutes). The real challenge is charging for people who don't have a garage. Focus on putting chargers at apartment complexes and on city streets where residents without garages park. Require charging as part of the permitting process for new apartments (we just did that in my town).

Comment Root my Android phone? (Score 5, Interesting) 109

Can I use this to root my Android phone? I just want to install an ad-blocking /etc/hosts file, so I don't need a permanent root. This sounds like just the sort of exploit to do the trick, but I haven't looked at the technical details. I just want to do this before the next security update patches it.

Comment Reuse would be better (Score 1) 145

I would think that Samsung, which makes a huge range of products, could find one where they could integrate the failed tablets after removing the battery. People have talked about integrating touch screens with refrigerators. Now that can at minimal cost. Or turn them into hard-wired wall-mounted touch screens. I would love to see them for all the conference rooms at my office, set to display who has reserved the room and for how long.

The point is that there are all kinds of things these could be used for without the exploding batteries.

Comment Re:Do the math... (Score 1) 163

At the end he shows a solar roadway in South Korea--they put traditional panels on posts above the road (actually a cycle track, but the concept is the same). I've long agreed with the point that panels above the road make far more sense than panels in the road.

That said, I don't doubt that projects like these may develop some useful technology. Developing a viable glass roadway surface can probably have useful applications somewhere. The LED lights instead of paint is a neat concept.

I'm happy to see some research going into this, even though I agree that the end conclusion is that the total project as a whole isn't the right way forward.

Comment Cool Tech, Not Practical (Score 1) 163

This is really cool technology. I could see some places where simply the idea of reconfigurable LED lane markings could be a big win. Turning all the roadway asphalt into solar farms would be wonderful.

I'm still quite skeptical that the panels will generate more power than they use for melting snow. These will probably never be practical in snowy climates.

As to solar roadways, I still question how this will ever be more economical than building a steel framework above the roadway that is covered with solar panels. This is becoming more common in parking lots, and has the side benefit of holding the snow until it melts instead of requiring the lots to be plowed (at the expense of reduced winter electric production).

Comment Re:You mean like NBCUniversal? (Score 1) 250

And Comcast doesn't want you to know that you can pick up broadcast channels for free with an antenna in perfect HD in most locations. If Comcast starts blocking any NBC content from streaming services, it will be a clear sign that your interpretation is right.

Comment Roku with Cable Card (Score 1) 39

I think what most people would love to have is a Roku with a cable card. The current hardware won't do MPEG-2; otherwise people would pair the Roku with a HD Homerun Prime. The Prime can tune three channels, so you would need one cable card for three Rokus/TVs. If Roku did this, they would crush the set-top box market.

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