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Comment Every month a new battery breakthrough, but.. (Score 2, Insightful) 119

...why can't I buy all these wonder batteries?

In the last five years I must have read about at least fifty breakthroughs in battery technology, but nothing of it has reached the consumer (me) yet.

I believe that this is because researchers seem to exaggerate their research results for obvious reasons and seem to underestimate what it takes to make a successful product.

Regarding battery technology I completely stopped to believe anything that comes out of the research community.

Unless I can buy it, it does not exist.


Comment Re:Killowatts are power, not energy (Score 1) 262

The unit kilowatt is fine, but the number is ridiculously low. Cars breaks are typically designed to have a breaking power of four times the engine power, so we are talking about 500-1000 kW of breaking power in typical cars.

Modern high speed trains have a breaking power in the order of 10 - 20 MW using their engines for regenerative dynamic braking. The german ICE3 has about 16,4 MW dynamic breaking power, which is only slightly higher than the 16 MW propulsion power. It also has additional eddy current brakes, but they there breaking power is just 1600 kW, about 10% of the the dynamic breaking power. There are even additional disc brakes, but they are only used in emergency situatuions.

The largest burner on my gas stove has 5 kW power, but I don't think I can make a pan to glow in seconds, if at all.

Watching the video I would assume that they are talking about 4.6 MW oder 4600 kW of breaking power this disk can handle.

Comment Burden of Proof (Score 3, Insightful) 219

I do not see why the burden of proof that massive dissemination of poison is harmful should be with the public.

IMO those who manufacture and sell this stuff have to prove that it does not destroy our ecosystem.

I know, the stuff has been at some point been certified, but I think that every company that manufactures a product has an obligation to monitor if it is harmful even after it appears on the market. You simply can not determine the long term impact of wide use on the environment with a handful of studies,


Comment Re:And by 2022 they'll replace it with what? (Score 1) 822

The "Cubic Mile of Oil"-numbers do show the opposite of what you are suggesting.

Replacing one CMU with nuclear is the second most expensive alternative, only solar panels are more expensive. Building 2200 nuclear power plant is not only totally out of question, it would also deplete world uranium reserves within a decade.

On the other Hand, building 1.6 Mio. wind turbines is the cheapest viable alternative. Germany alone already has about 22.000 of them, and they are profitable.

Safe nuclear power is not commercially viable. The only reason why it looks cheap is because today's commercial reactors are unsafe by design and the risk costs are carried by the society.

With the cheap nuclear reactors that are still being build today we will have a major nuclear disaster every 20-30 years, and the economic damage to the affected country is huge.

Depending on the outcome, Fukushima probably will cost Japan more than has ever been saved by using nuclear power at all. Expect Japan to pay billions every year just to maintain the Fukushima ruin, and this might go on for hundreds of years.

Just one Fukushima or Chernobyl type disaster in Germany would cost more than the transition to renewable sources.

Of course a society can make the decision to take the gamble, but Germany has been hit hard from Chernobyl Fallout - in some areas in Bavaria deer still can not be consumed because the meat is too radioactive, and it will take about 200 years until the situation will be normal.

The U.S. may not have such big problem when a few thousand square miles get polluted with radioactive fallout - the country is big.

For a small country like Germany, one nuclear disaster might cause more damage than World War II.

My guess is that within the next 30 years we will see another major nuclear disaster somewhere in the world, most probably in the U.S. or in France.

I also expect that most planned nuclear reactors never will get built because even before Fukushima they were too expensive, and after Fukushima no sane Investor will sink money into it.

Like about 80% of the german population I regard the decision to end nuclear power in Germany as a good one - not because I am afraid, but because it is an economically sound decision.



Have I Lost My Gaming Mojo? 418

danabnormal writes "Increasingly I'm being frustrated in my attempts to find a game I want to play. In an effort to catch up, I've been using my bog standard Dell laptop to dig out treasures I have missed, such as American McGee's Alice, Grim Fandango and Syberia. I don't often get the time to play games, so I like to have the opportunity to dip in and out of a title without feeling like I'm losing something by not playing it for periods of time. But when I find a title I like, I make the time. Heavy Rain is the last game that gripped me, that truly engaged me and made me want to complete it in a single sitting. I'm tired of the GTA formulas, bored of CoDs and don't have the reaction time to think on my feet for AOE III. Is it about time I tossed in the controller and resigned myself to the fact that the games I want only come out once in a blue moon? Or have I just not found that one great title that will open me up to a brand new genre? Lords of Ultima is going OK at the moment — is there anything of that ilk I've missed? What are your thoughts? Do you stick to a particular genre? Are you finding it harder, as you get more mature, to find something you want to play?"

Comment Hmm... (Score 1) 462

Reading this article, I was thinking this security guy is exaggerating and playing down at the same time.

First of all, in the U.S. many companies use so much crap when it comes to IT that it makes me sick, so everything is possible. However, I think it is much more probable many systems will blow up on a large scale without any malice involved, but just due to incompetence and negligence.

At the same time this guy admits the U.S. is actively preparing and maybe even conducting cyber-warfare against other countries. I don't know how to comment on that. If all countries would stick to cyberwarfare instead of dropping bombs, this would not be *that* bad.

The talk about stolen intellectual property and trade secrets is mostly bullshit. Any business that requires a great deal of secrets to be kept is not sustainable anyway. The future belongs to companies who need very few secrets, if any at all, and are quite open about most aspects of their business. Secrets tend to get out sooner or later anyway.

For mission critical software the quality standards should not be very high, but insanely high. And when the life of people is on the line, software alone should never be able wreak havoc. Unfortunately there are too many people out there who don't have a clue and are just happy when things work. The only get wiser when after the shit hits fan a couple of times, but then they overreact. Professionals should have more courage and never let hazardous systems become operational.

However, I don't see a chance that most of those responsible for the bottom line would voluntarily invest in security and safety unless they are forced to do so, either by law, or by shitstorm.


Comment Re:Okay, enough already (Score 1) 484

I agree with you that the Browser Issue is a secondary one.

But no one would deny that Microsoft has a de-facto Monopoly on desktop operating systems and office applications.

Bill Gates did not become the richest person in the world because Microsoft did a good job on innovating, but they successfully succeeded the IBM Mainframe monopoly in the PC market on the back of IBM.

The only great thing Microsoft did was to royally kick IBMs testicles when they felt they could do so safely.

Then they operated for decades with an paranoid underdog mentality, and because they knew that their technology and their people were at best second-rate, they thought that every new small competitor might do to them what they had done to IBM, so they used every dirty trick in the book to eliminate upcomers.

And at the same time they enjoyed their monopoly and charged way too much for their software.

Software has a wonderful economy of scale, and with software you can create wonderful lock-in effects, and also abuse the patent and copyright system to keep competitors away.

By the number of windows licenses, a copy of windows should not cost more than a single digit amount of dollars, and Office as well.

Microsoft should have been forced to open its books and all the indecent profits should have been taxed away. Price controls should have been enforced based on the actual costs of developing and marketing the stuff, divided by the number of copies sold.

What happened here is a classical example of how laissez-faire capitalism hurts the economy, stiffles innovation and makes a few obscenely rich.

Now, before calling me a communist:

I regard Communism and Capitalism as equally inhumane because they both deny and suppress half of what makes us survive and prosper. Every sane human being has not only the desire to maximize his own profit, but also to give away, to share and to sacrifice for the prosperity of the society he lives in.

A society or culture that focuses on one side is simply doomed.



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