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Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 3) 237

Indeed, I've never had a modern 3,5mm headphone port wear out. I've had a lot of micro-USB ports wear out. : And it's only logical that would be the case, the electrodes on the headphone port are far more robust than those on a micro-USB port.

I know that the standard response to "3,5mm port removal is the feature that nobody requested" is "it'll be painless and we'll be able to use the extra space to more useful internal hardware without having to make the phone bigger". But just ignoring the "painless" thing... how much more "capability" can you add in such a little space? That's enough for what, maybe 5% more battery time?

Maybe I'm wierd, but I couldn't give a rat's arse how thick a phone is... I just want it to be robost and not a big headache.

Comment Re:Much better source of Hydrogen (Score 3, Interesting) 71

There's actually a plausible case for bringing hydrogen back from Venus (not Jupiter) - it's highly deuterium-enriched (~150-240x Earth) due to the great amount of hydrogen loss to space over the planet's history. If further enriched in-situ (using the local abundant energy resources), it could be exported back to Earth. And there's a pretty clever way to do in-situ enrichment as well: whatever facility you're operating is going to need nighttime energy storage. Electrolysis has a very strong enrichment factor. If you wire your fuel cell stack in a cascade, you're enriching the deuterium at the same time you're storing electricity, and hence getting it for "free" (only the cost of the cascaded plumbing versus a simpler linear approach). There's also potential for enrichment on the recombination side.

Exporting from Venus is (obviously) not economically viable at present, however; you need the total costs to get the return product** to be under $1k per kg. ~$2k/kg if you had to return some hydrogen-bearing material anyway (such as plastic containers) and returned deuterated versions instead. But there could well be a potential case in the distant future for importing hydrogen.

** Costs include in-situ propellant (and potentially drop tank) production for launch, fueling the cycler, deorbit costs at Earth, and of course maintenance of everything involved, not least capital cost amortization if you want to be fair.

Submission + - Laser-Armed Martian Robot Now Vaporizing Targets Of Its Own Free Will

Rei writes: We know now that in the early years of the twenty-first century this world was being watched closely by intelligences granted by man and yet as mortal as his own — intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. Or at least one can assume that's what's happening on Mars these days, as NASA — having already populated the Red Planet with robots and armed a car-sized nuclear juggernaut with a laser — have now decided to grant fire control of that laser over to a new AI system operating on the rover itself. Intended to increase the scientific data-gathering throughput on the sometimes glitching rover's journey, the improved AEGIS system eliminates the need for a series of back-and-forth communication sessions to select targets and aim the laser.

As a side note, may I be the first to add that I think Curiosity is a lovely name, I love what you've done with the planet, but I have a medical condition that renders me unfit to toil in any hypothetical subterranean lithium mines...

Comment Re:New kind of pickup truck? (Score 1) 171

If you wanted to take it to extremes, you'd get something along the lines of a larger, heavy duty Aptera. Although for a pickup that's probably going a bit far. ;) At the very least, you need some depth on the rear end, and some degree of rear wheel spacing for load stability.

Re: rollovers, however, EVs are naturally resistant, because you keep the batteries on the underside of the vehicle.

One of my more extreme concepts is to have all of the wheels as self-contained, independent azipods, each with their own motor and battery pack (battery pack in the taper behind the wheel). That way not only does the center of gravity stay absurdly low, but you get rid of all of the long linkages, shorten your wiring runs (less losses, among other benefits), and have the possibility to doubly-isolate the cabin from vibration and noise (once in the motor/wheel linkage, and once in the pod-cabin linkage, perhaps a cable-isolater for the latter). Better vibration isolation lets you run with harder, more efficient tires (potentially even non-pneumatic). Also, keeping the batteries in the pods would reduce the amount of power you'd need to run through the azimuth mount; mounts with power transmission are available, but they get pretty bulky, large, and heavy when you start talking about the peak power needs of an EV. Instead, you'd only transfer what you need to for charging and load balancing (the cabin would have its own small pack for accessory loads). There is a downside, mind you, which is that they submerge easier in deep water; however, you could run a flexible air tube through the core of the pod mount and basically have them "snorkeled". While there are waterproof motor mounts on the market (designed for boats and submarines and the like), I rather like the idea of having the cooling air exhausted through the (low clearance) rotor opening, maintaining constant positive pressure sufficient for a couple meters of depth. I'd love some of the compact pancake motors that you find on the market, like the EMRAX series. Four of those and the bloody thing could fly if one mounted props instead of wheels ;) .

Some day I'll have the right combination of free time and budget to experiment. I usually have either one or the other but not both ;)

Comment Re:New kind of pickup truck? (Score 1) 171

They do the "engine compartment" to be an crumple zone. You know, little thing called safety

65 mph = 105 kph = 29 m/s
Let's limit deceleration forces in an accident at those speeds to the human limit (around 100g).

a = -100G = -100 * 9,81m/s^2 = -981 m/s^2
v1 = v0 + at
0 = 29 + -981 * t
981t = 29
t = 0.03

Average velocity during deceleration = 29 / 2 = 14,5
0.03 * 14,5 = 0,42m = 1,3 feet.

No, you don't need vast distances to make highway-speed crashes into a brick wall survivable. Furthermore, that's not real-world crashes in the vast majority of cases. The other vehicle gives as well. And the more rounded the front end and the more the structure is designed to do so, the more the vehicle attempts to deflect

The key aspect is that you need the passenger safety cell to not be penetrated and the combination of airbags and seatbelts to provide a steady, smooth deceleration that prevents harsh impacts. In terms of crumple zones and deceleration, the long front on a conventional car is hindered by its contents. A large amount of the volume inside is taken up by effectively uncollapsable or poorly collapsible hardware - e.g. an engine block isn't going to flatten into a pancake in an accident Do a google search for "fatal car crash" (if you can stomach it) and look at what percentage of the hoods are actually crumpled in on front-end collisions. It's often surprisingly little. The real killers are failed safety cells, not G-forces. It's hard to make the passenger compartments tolerate the forces survive for a number of reasons - for example, the A-pillars need to be narrow so as not to block one's view.

To put it another way: You may have 10-20 centimeters between your body and the outermost point on a car in a collision, versus a couple meters on the front end. And the human body tolerates lateral G-forces worse than front-on. If a highway speed crash was likely to kill you due to G-forces, then even a tiny tap on the side of your car should kill you. (front-on collisions are more survivable, but not that much more!)

Comment Re: So funny (Score 1) 171

Look at the financials. Tesla will go bankrupt soon.

You're of the strange view that there's something preventing Tesla from doing rounds of equity financing, the standard for a rapidly growing company (virtually all new companies go through repeat financing rounds, and continue to do so until their growth tapers off). Something Tesla has done many times in the past, and something that they've always gotten strong interest in the past, with much weaker demand lined up than that for the Model 3.

At some point Tesla will fill its market niche, stop growing, and no longer be able to make use of equity financing. With several hundred thousand pre-orders on hand to fill, they're far, far from that point.

Comment Re: So funny (Score 3, Interesting) 171

SolarCity isn't pretty revolutionary. But SpaceX and Tesla's work has been pretty revolutionary. No, it's not like SpaceX "invented rockets" or like Tesla "invented electric cars". But they did vastly change the paradigms in both regards and turn a bunch of new techniques / technologies from the kit / niche / hypothetical arena into mainstream production, as well as radically altering public perceptions..

I'm not sure why people don't see that as commendable.

Comment Re: So funny (Score 5, Insightful) 171

Yeah, why does he keep saying he can do things and then actually doing them? What's wrong with the guy?

"I'm going to start a company making electric supercars."
"They'll never work and nobody will buy them. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"So, I've got a big list of buyers for a very real electric supercar."
"Your gearbox problem and price estimate issues will break you. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"So, we've resolved the pricing and gearboxes, and the cars are being delivered to owners"
"Yeah, you're making them at a tiny rate, you'll never scaleup You'll go bankrupt soon."
"So, we scaled up production, and now we're going to make a super long range, even cheaper, luxury car"
"Hahaha, no, that's never going to happen. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"So, we're making the car with basically the specs and pricing we announced."
"Yeah, in tiny numbers. You'll never scale up, and you'll go bankrupt soon."
"So we've scaled up model S production and it's getting great owner satisfaction. We're going to make a crossover now, and then a $30k EV in huge numbers"
"The crossover will be a failure, and those numbers are laughable. You'll never get interest nor raise capital for that. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"So, the crossover is getting great reviews too, we've raised capital to start production of our factories...."

Meanwhile, on the other side:

"Hey, I'm going to start a company to launch payloads into orbit!"
"Har har, this isn't going to last long, you're going to be the next Roton. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"Hey, we've actually got a built and are starting to launch it."
"Yeah, but it's unreliable as heck, and too small to compete for the high dollar contracts. You'll go bankrupt soon."
"Hey, we got the bugs worked out of our rocket, and we're starting work on a vastly larger rocket."
"Har har, like that's ever going to happen. It'll never work, and you'll go bankrupt soon."
"Hey, so we built and are launching our vastly larger rocket..."
"Nobody's going to trust that thing, you'll never be able to compete, you'll go bankrupt soon."
"Hey, we're launching payload after payload, and we're going to start landing and recovering our rockets."
"You're going to land first stages, something even NASA hasn't done? Hahaha, good luck, You'll go bankrupt soon!"
"Hey, so we're pretty consistently landing and recovering rockets now..."

-------

If you want know why people tend to listen to Musk rather than his constant chorus of naysayers, it's because the naysayers have such an unbelievably bad track record with their naysaying. Come on, at least be like a stopped clock and be right once every so often.

Comment Re: So funny (Score 1) 171

Fact is Tesla is losing money.

Fact is also that this is cited because they're pumping such vast amounts of money into scaleup. If they'd not done so previously they wouldn't have had the Model S and would have just been a tiny Roadster company. If they don't do so now then they'll be stuck at the S/X stage and never scale up to Model 3 numbers. Investors want them to be losing money in this manner now because they want to own part of a much larger company rather than get short-term profits.

And the reason they're calling out on their earning statements is recalls.

Citation needed.

That also gets paired with that they continually miss manufacturing goals.

They also set themselves absurdly ambitious manufacturing deadlines, and have outright stated that this is because with so many components dependent on outside suppliers it's almost statistically guaranteed that at least one will miss their deadline, and they need an earlier date - with consequences if it's not met - to not have production schedules drag out.

it's that they can't make as many as they claim they will.

The same story that people were saying before the Roadster.
And the same story that people were saying before the Model S.

Why is it that we see nothing odd with Honda being able to make a new factory to churn out huge numbers of cars, or Toyota, or GM, or Volkswagen, or anybody else... but not Tesla? It takes money for capital costs and people with experience in doing so. The latter you can buy with the former. And Tesla has the former. So? What's the problem?

if you speak ill of Tesla, people around here rush to defend

Are you surprised that people reply if they disagree with you about something? Your views are not some God-ordained truth and everyone who disagrees with you ignorant cultish fools. People come into a situation with different perspectives and views. Try to debate with people as equals, not from some high horse...

and go on about how you must be an idiot because you haven't consumed the koolaid of Tesla

Like that horse right there.

Fact is they may have done some innovative things, but their quality is shit

Which is why they consistently rank so high in consumer satisfaction surveys, right? I guess people really love "shit".

They can't keep up with demand for the model X

A problem most car companies dream of having.

how the hell are they going to do it for the model 3?

Capital investment, just like everything else.

What's going to happen when people who pre-ordered the model 3 thinking a $35,000 price tag realizes that Tesla has used up their government rebates and it'll be $42,500

If government rebates aren't available and people have to pay more than expected, then a portion of the tremendous demand that you were just seconds ago claiming that they couldn't possibly fill would go away. The issue?

and that assumes that they can actually hit their target price, a goal which historically they've never managed.

They failed initially on price targets for the Roadster, but that was because of Martin Eberhard's BS numbers that he used to sell the concept (it's what eventually got him fired) - and they eventually got prices under control.

They did meet their price target for the baseline Model S (something that many people like you were calling ridiculous when they announced it) - more or less, depending on how you measure. The initial announcement in 2008 was for 225 miles range for $60k after tax credits. That was before how EV ranges were calculated was revised, back in 2008 EV ranges in the US generally assumed steady 55 mph speed; with modern range figures that's more equivalent to ~180mi. The Model S pricings that came to be were, on the low end, without tax credits:

$59k / 160 mi
$66k / 208 mi
$70k / 230 mi

The federal tax credit is $7,5k and there are in various places state and local credits as well. In short, I'd call that hitting pretty much spot on.

Will they be willing to wait for the inevitable two years behind schedule that the model 3 will eventually be released because again, Tesla has never released a vehicle on schedule.

Perhaps you didn't notice, but when Model 3 reservations turned out to be far beyond expectations, they actually moved the target production date forward.

Comment Re:New kind of pickup truck? (Score 1, Informative) 171

Well, I was hopeful when I heard "a new type of pickup"... and then quickly disappointed. Here's what I was hoping to see.

From an aerodynamics perspective, increasing a vehicle's height or width costs you energy, but increasing its length does not. Actually, just the opposite - a longer vehicle gives you more room for a more gradual taper and so can even decrease energy consumption.

The biggest hauling need in a pickup in a work environment is generally for things that are significantly longer than they are wide. Not always, but that seems to be the most common (boards, steel, pipe, etc)

While with a somewhat rough underside the most efficient design places a vehicle close to the ground, once you get to a highly smooth underside the optimal shape starts becoming to elevate it more. Which means ground clearance, exactly what you want in a pickup.

In short.. a true "streamliner" pickup truck actually makes very good sense, with a long, somewhat narrowed bed and a highly vertically-tapered top cover for when not carrying oversized loads. I would love such a thing, and have often pondered making one at some point in the distant future because nothing like that ever comes on the market.

Instead, here's what we get from Tesla - a half-streamlined half-attempt that puts style over function. What's the purpose of that big engine compartment, for example? No, seriously, it's not like they have to put some giant ICE there, what's the point of it? The point is to look like a conventional, inefficient pickup :P With an EV you want your batteries down low. In the case of a pickup, under the floor of the cab to offset the weight of the bed. You ideally want 4WD, which in an EV is probably best done by dual motors, front and back. Electric motors are small, they don't need some massive engine compartment. That engine compartment also leaves a sharp transition at the windscreen which messes up your airflow. They do a fair bit of work on the profile, mind you - the top tapers to get a better "rounding", they show very streamlined mirrors, etc. They put some pointless flourish streamlines" on the door and sides as well as the hood, though, but whatever... Then at the back they go to this conventional (except for being tiny) bed, which is just the opposite of what you want in both regards. All that space wasted on the front should have been in the back. The bottom should also be tapering up there. And no streamline top cover? Just your conventional pickup bed vortex? Uninspiring.

(I'd personally like the rear and possibly front wheels shrouded, but there are practical downsides to that when it comes to a pickup and it might not be practical)

Aero isn't just about "saving energy". It also means greater range and faster charge times and less charge cycles on the batteries. It's a very big deal. And with a pickup, all of those become even more important than with a sedan, since it's tasked with a tougher job.

Comment Re:Idea!!! (Score 4, Interesting) 136

Indeed, this is a pointless rant. The US uses a number of driving cycles for different purposes - FTP-75, HWFET, US06, and SC03. In terms of determining ratings that are presented to computers, US standards are by far the most stringest in the world. European cars are rated by the much less stringent NEDC, and Japanese cars by the laughable 10-15 cycle, where the highest speed involved in the whole cycle is 70 kph (under 45 mph), with an average speed 1/3rd of that.

The US cycles are regularly updated - the most recent update to the FTP-75 was in 2008. And yes, it's made them more stringent, based on... wait for it.... research on how people drive, the thing that this rant claims doesn't occur. Now, it's true that, for consistency purposes, CAFE ratings (which the buyer never sees) still use the same measure that they did back in the 70s, and that there's different measures for different types of vehicles and the like. But that's because you don't want to break your comparisons to older vehicles; anyone actually working with CAFE numbers is going to be aware of their limitations. John Smith from Podunk Arkansas isn't going to be messing around with CAFE figures; CAFE exists basically for accounting purposes, to see if the fleet is overall getting more or less efficient.

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