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Comment Re:Some EVs can't quick charge repeatedly (Score 5, Insightful) 373

I own a LEAF, and I've heard no such recommendation. They recommend against multiple quick charges per day, but I haven't seen anything about twice a month. You don't want to put the battery through a quick charge when the batteries are real hot, but a battery pack is not going to hold heat for multiple days. Sorry, the thermal mass isn't that high.

Now, they do tell you that the less you quick charge, the longer your battery will last. They say that regular quick charging will leave you with 70% capacity after 8 or 10 years (I can't remember the quoted "lifetime"), and 80% capacity at "end of life" if you don't quick charge, but just use 110V trickle charging and 220V normal charging.

That's not exactly frying your batteries early.

Don't hold your breath on your non-RTFM scenario, dude. First of all, EV owners know the dominant strategy for charging is always going to be charging at home. Very few people are going to be doing a lot of quick charging (maybe cab drivers?). Quick charging is likely to be significantly more expensive per kWh than charging at home, and people just don't buy LEAFs if they do a lot of long-distance (100 miles+) driving. If they did, they'd but a Volt.

Comment Re:Still not practical (Score 2) 373

Oh, stop it. Sorry, but this debate isn't over. Don't try to bully this forum by simply resorting to name-calling.

A standard set of battery sizes (A, AA, AAA, C, D, camera batteries, 9-volts, watch batteries, etc.) and capacities has prevented electronic device makers from building different devices? No, it hasn't.

The electric car battery issue is also a bigger deal, so there's even more motivation to come up with a standard solution. People aren't terribly worried about charge times for their flashlight, but they are for their EVs.

Your point number 2 ... do you worry about gas stations being "out of fuel"? (you actually did in the 70s, but that didn't stop people from wanting cars). You're exploiting the fact that any new technology has certain chicken-and-egg issues. As soon as EVs are prevalent, charge stations will exist to meet demand, like what you see for any other product. 3? Don't confuse "simple" with "not able to be done by hand". No, a person can't lift an EV battery pack. That doesn't mean they can't be made modularly to be swapped out by a machine with some mechanical advantage. A gas pump can pump hundreds of pounds of fuel in a few minutes. A battery lift isn't fundamentally more complex.

4 can be addressed. First of all, you're not stuck with the battery you swap in at a charge station, any more than you're stuck with the one that comes with your car. Like an odometer in a car, you attach a lifecycle monitor to each battery pack, so it's known how many cycles it's gone through. For a multi-thousand dollar pack, that's easily a justifiable expense.

You'd also probably have to sign up for some kind of network to be allowed to use the swapping system. That way, if you try to leave them with some kind of battery that's had its cycle counter tampered with, the charge station knows who you are. Lack of anonymity is a minor inconvenience for getting a full battery in a few minutes. Besides, nobody today (except tinfoil hats) buys gas with anything but a credit/debit card, which certainly isn't anonymous.

You're out of excuses.

Comment Re:Where? (Score 1) 715

You do realize that there are digital design tools, right? I don't use paper or whiteboards much, but I do design things before I code. The difference is that I have a digital record of my class diagrams, or sequence diagrams, and you're looking for them under a stack of papers on your desk, or bitching about the guy who backed into your whiteboard, and smudged your pretty picture.

I don't have to worry about deciphering my crummy handwriting, I can easily send my design documents to people who missed the meeting (and associated whiteboard sketches), and if the design session actually involves prototyping code, I get Intellisense, autoformatting, syntax-checking, and a whole host of other automated features that my whiteboard doesn't seem to do for me.

Comment He's More Directly Responsible Than That, Even ... (Score 1) 448

Neal Stephenson actually worked at Blue Origin in Seattle for a while (Jeff Bezos' commercial space company). According to an engineer I knew who worked there, his presence in meetings was an utter distraction, as the real engineers would toss around reasonable technical suggestions, and Stephenson would chime in with idiotic comments from the peanut gallery. Apparently, nobody felt comfortable calling him out as an ass-clown because he was one of Bezos' favorites.

Comment Auto Industry Only Knows One Tune ... (Score 1) 402

... and that's the hum of an internal combustion engine.

The attempt to make electric cars sound like ICEs is silly. First, it's motivated by people attempting to use their guts to determine what constitutes a safety feature. It's all very intuitive to think that a noisy car is safer. Except that it really isn't. Pedestrians don't rely heavily on their sense of sound to avoid getting hit. They just don't. Spend time watching pedestrians at an intersection, and you'll realize that they're either (a) not paying attention at all, or (b) using their sight to avoid cars.

Trying to use sound to avoid collisions is problematic for two reasons. First, because all the other cars in the vicinity that don't pose an immediate threat are also making noise, the noise of cars closer to you gets drowned out. Second, because it's very hard to tell where a sound is coming from, especially in urban environments, where sounds reflect off buildings. Do the experiment yourself. Close your eyes, and listen for cars, and see if you can tell where they are. It's extremely difficult.

Electric cars also are not silent to start off with. They still produce wind noise, and tire noise, like other cars.

But, perhaps the biggest logical farce is that these noisemakers are being justified based on a multi-year study done by NHTSA, whereby hybrids got into a higher number of accidents with pedestrians than conventional cars, and at low speeds, hybrids work similarly to electric cars (can be quieter). The factor by which hybrids got into more ped accidents was about 1.4 (40% more). That's not a huge amount more, but it certainly is noticeable.

The problem is that the study did not account for the environment hybrids tend to operate in. With half of this country living in urban vs. rural settings, you don't see hybrids represented equally in both. By a two to one ratio, you see more hybrids among city dwellers. And if you look at overall pedestrian accident data, you'll see that pedestrian accidents are twice as likely in urban environments. So, the increased rate of ped accidents with hybrids can probably be explained completely by simply understanding that they operate in riskier environments.

The study also only attempts to address accidents caused by the car making the noise (or not). The study makes no attempt to understand that aside from the car that actually hits the pedestrian, every other car in the vicinity was making noise that made it harder for that particular car to be heard. Electric cars make the environment quieter for everybody, which could have a small beneficial effect that makes it less likely for all the cars around them to go unnoticed, because of ambient noise. In game theory terms, this is a true Prisoner's Dilemma, where the automakers are concluding that every car should be noisy, in an attempt to out-noisy the rest, paying no attention to the net effect of all the noise pollution.

When you consider these factors, you realize that the overall affect on pedestrian safety from quiet cars is very small. Certainly nowhere near the 40% figure that's spawned this hysteria.

This is really just an attempt by the auto industry, that is really looking for excuses to say, "we just can't build cars competitively any other way ... and thus were right all along to populate the planet with pollution machines". It's pretty pathetic, really.

Comment A dog? Seriously? (Score 1) 508

The predictability of human emotion overriding reason is frustrating in the masses, but it's tragic among people (Slashdotters) that should know better. I totally get why dogs are man's best friend. But, it's utterly ridiculous how that status has translated into people thinking that dogs are even vaguely intelligent creatures, or useful for things like home security.

Dogs are stupid. Really, they're stupid. If you rely on a dog as any significant part of your security system, you're not much better. The principal by which dogs are supposed to be good for security is largely the same as that which is supposed to make car alarms work (making noise). Because car alarms are not companions, and therefore people don't have emotional reasons to be irrational about them, people have now largely accepted the reality that car alarms don't do much to stop car thefts.

Dogs also shouldn't even be part of a discussion about cheap security systems. Dogs cost thousands of dollars over their lifetimes, and the bigger they are, the more they cost. And for those people who respond to my previous paragraph by asserting that dogs' purpose is also to attack the thieves, now you're talking about something (training attack dogs), that's not cheap, not easy, and not DIY for average Joes.

Guns aren't that much better. Criminals generally aren't going to know about your gun until they've already broken in (and found you home). Maybe guns would be a deterrent against the same criminals, or one of their friends, robbing you a second time, after robbing you once and finding you at home to show them your gun. But, mostly, the idea that guns prevent burglaries is more fantasy, just like the dog mythology.

Comment Re:Solyndra (Score 1) 509

What? Lockheed is financed almost entirely with taxpayer funds, they lose what Solyndra lost, every year in between the couch cushions, and you don't know anything about what really happened at Solyndra, other than they had a business that didn't succeed.

Perhaps no company in the US gets more of their business from "black" projects, so don't even try to pretend like the lack of transparency in the Solyndra deal is even on the same order of magnitude as Lockheed's business.

God, conservatives are adept at pulling crap out of their rear ends!

Comment Re:Solyndra (Score 1) 509

Uh, the F-35/JSF was like the biggest procurement in the history of military aviation. Phantom Ray is a tiny program. So, yeah, Boeing lost out.

As Scott Evil once said, "A billion is more than a million, numbnuts."

Comment Re:Privatization? (Score 1) 681

How does a one-sentence answer with only two thoughts in it, both of which are demonstrably wrong, get modded up to 5?

You're asserting that airport security is now (a) expensive, and (b) not secure. Both aren't even close to correct.

Since 9/11, which is when the modern airport security apparatus was spawned, we've had no major incidents on airplanes. That's 10 years with no major incidents. Seriously. What would it take for you to say that airplanes are fairly secure? And please, no crap about how we didn't really stop the underwear bomber. I don't care if that bomb did go off. Statistically, one incident would still constitute fantastic safety over the course of a ten-year period. Jesus, do slashdotters not understand statistics, or what? What mobile location is more secure than an airplane?

And the cost? What are you basing this supposedly high cost on? I can't recall the stats off the top of my head, but it's something like $10 a ticket. That's not even three airport coffees at today's prices. Do you think bag and body scanners can be bought at for $100 each?

Seeing irrational crap like this on a supposedly rational internet forum makes me want to f'ing scream.

Comment Or Maybe We Shouldn't Trust Him ... (Score 1) 681

John Mica is the same guy who shut down the FAA for a couple weeks because he decided now is the right time to bust airport unions. He also specifically introduced measures into the FAA funding bill that called for closures in Democrats' districts. Those were the hard-line positions he took that caused the impasse over extension of FAA funding, which is normally a completely routine process.

I'm actually not much of a fan of either unions, or the TSA, but I can recognize partisan hackery when I see it. It's also ludicrous to think that public sector unions are a major cause of our recent woes, as union membership has already been declining for years.

So, sorry, but I'm a little bit inclined to be skeptical of his motives. The GOP are making a living off of objecting to stuff (e.g. TSA) that they were all for, when Republicans controlled the government. People who continue to give these craven conservative monsters the benefit of the doubt are merely fueling their outrageous behavior.

Comment Re:Missing Option (Score 1) 316

Yes, it would be useful if we had more media sources comprised of the musings of anonymous cowards childishly masquerading as anarchist movie characters, who openly admit to having vested financial interests in what they report on (but not what those interests are, and when). Add to that, forums that swiftly ban commenters that disagree with their libertarian world view, and a whole truckload of gold shills, and you really have the pinnacle of good journalism.

And, by the way, The Economist sucks, too. They just suck with a little less ignorance and arrogance than the Teabaggers at ZeroHedge.

Comment There's already a model for solving this problem (Score 1) 87

There's really no sense in worrying about anything in a car that's not responsible for the actual driving of the car. If the computers that control engine timing, or braking, or airbag deployment get hacked, that's a problem. If the entertainment system gets hacked, and somebody maliciously transfers some Michael Bolton mp3s to your sound system, it's much less of a problem. You simply need to isolate the systems. Cars already have multiple internal computers, so it's not like this requires splitting one on-board computer into two.

Military aircraft have had this concept for a long time. The computing systems that actually fly the plane, like the fly-by-wire controls, are completely separate from the stuff that a pilot uses to do other tasks, like mission planning. Depending on whether your software is "mission critical" or "flight critical" or neither, there are different systems that run it, and different quality standards that apply.

I'd just hate to see a massive freak-out about "hackers" disabling your brakes remotely, when there's no reason for that to ever be even technically feasible.

Comment Re:Ada! (Score 2) 791

I worked on defense systems in Ada for a number of years. While I love working in C# and Java, and sometimes Objective-C, I have to say that Ada had some really great features (some of which clearly influenced later languages).

It might seem like Ada would be a great language for financial services, as it was designed with security and reliability in mind. But, alas, the financial sector is really less interested in those features, and vastly more interested in skimming their clients' money while telling them how lucky they are to have the liquidity. I don't remember Ada including a library for that (system.scheming.ponzi, maybe?).

Comment Re:I am an HFT programmer (Score 0) 791

I have a question. How can a guy make $500k and obviously think the world of himself while being under the impression that 12 hours x 7 days equals 100 hrs/wk?

Sorry in advance for the sarcasm, but slashdotters do know what you do. If you paid attention, there have been lots of HFT threads since 2008. The question is, "do you understand what you do"? Namely, destabilize markets, manipulate prices for your clients, participate in systemic frontrunning, and divert talent away from solving engineering problems that actually matter to humanity, for the sake of enriching yourself off one of the biggest examples of what game theorists call a "Prisoner's Dilemma" that I can imagine. Your use of the word "useful" to describe your work leads me to think not.

Comment Re:I work for a phone company... (Score 1) 207

What does your Direct TV story have to do with my iPhone? I mean, thanks for the explanation, but the only thing it has in common with the topic is that the telecom industry is involved. Different network technology, different company. Different. Everything isn't a slippery slope to everything else.

I'm pissed, because for about the last three or so years, I haven't seen one iota of increased performance in my home internet or mobile phone speeds, my rates haven't dropped a bit, the economy is in the tank (which normally drops prices, especially for technology that isn't improving), and AT&T is one of the most profitable companies on earth, even before this move!

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