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Comment Re:You no longer own a car (Score 0) 649

My 1993 Ford Escort Wagon (yes, I still own it) has absolutely no trouble passing State of Washington emissions laws. It's not even close to the limits.

My vehicle currently gets roughly 35 mpg highway and 30 mpg city. I know it's simplistic to use gas mileage as a proxy for gasoline conversion efficiency, but - it is not obvious to me that there's been significant improvement in gas engines over the past 20 or 30 years. I don't see a lot of similarly-sized new cars that do better than - or even as good as - my old beater.

I drove a 1993 Mercury Tracer wagon similar to your Escort for 18-1/2 years. It was a very reliable and durable car. I sold it to the brother of a co-worker 3-1/2 years ago and still see it every now and then. I got 30 to 31 MPG on my daily commute.

I replaced it with a 2012 Ford Focus. On the same commute route, I have averaged 36 MPG on the 46K miles it has on it now. The Focus has almost twice the horsepower of the Tracer. (160 vs 88). Yes there are similarly sized cars that get worse milage than your Escort, but technology has improved efficiency.

Comment Re:Yes Seriously (Score 0) 1146

electric heat pumps (with appropriate backup heat),

Why do you need a backup for heat pumps?

Efficiency drops off at lower temperatures.

Efficiency does drop, but it is not the reason you need backup heat. Most air source heat pumps are still more than "100%" efficient compared to resistive heat down to about 0 F outdoor temperature. Backup heat is needed because the heat capacity goes down as outdoor temperature goes down. You may get 36,000 BTU/hr at 60 F, but at 20 F it is only about 20,000 BTU/hr (varies with design of unit). Unfortunately, the amount of heat you need goes up as outdoor temperature goes down.

When sizing heat pump systems, the capacity vs outdoor temperature is plotted on the same graph as the heat load. They form a nice "X" shape and point they cross is called the "balance point". That is the outdoor temperature you need auxiliary heat to keep the building warm.

Comment Re:It really is *saving* you daylight people (Score 0) 475

I suppose the fact that Eastern Indiana's longitude puts it where all other places observe Central Time has nothing to do with it? Maybe the fact that they don't like it when it doesn't get dark until 10:00p has something to do with it besides being stubborn???

I live in Indiana. When we were on standard time year round, we were effectively in the Central time zone in the summer and Eastern in the winter. When we switched to DST in the summer, we should have moved to Central time zone (where we belong) year round. I work with people from other time zones every day. Those people never seemed to figure out what time it was in Indiana, so the switch to DST helped that situation. I don't object to DST for that reason, but I do object to being this far West and still in Eastern time zone.

DST must have been named by a salesman or marketer. It doesn't "save" any daylight. The fact is we have too much daylight in the summer and too little in the winter. What we really need to do is store an hour of sunshine in the summer and release it in the winter. Electric lights are OK indoors, but hard to get sunlight brightness outside. Would be nice to have sunshine while shoveling snow in the mornings without installing football stadium lights around my driveway.

Comment At least its not a "use" tax (Score 0) 413

I live in Indiana. I am not fond of sales taxes, but even less fond of "use" taxes.

Indiana has attempted to tax internet and out-of-state purchases for years with a so-called "use" tax. There is a line on the income tax form where you are supposed to add up all out of state purchases where sales tax was not paid, and pay the equivalent sales tax rate for the right to use your purchased items in Indiana. The absurd thing about a "use" tax is it doesn't apply to purchases you paid other state's sales tax on.

If you register a new car bought out of state, and you paid less sales tax on the car than Indiana would have charged, Indiana will charge you the difference in when you apply for title in Indiana. The only way around this is to title the car in the other state and transfer it to Indiana latter.

Comment And I pay good money for them too (Score 1) 316

I subscribe to two print newspapers. The WSJ and the local afternoon paper. I consider them well worth the money and time I spend.

One of the problems getting all your news for "free" from the internet is I tend to read a fairly narrow range of subjects when all I see is a headline and have to click to see more. When the entire story is in front of you on the printed page, I scan the stories and find many interesting things that I would never click on to read. For example, I remember reading an article that interviewed a guy that started up a hair salon. I don't give a hoot about hair salons. I have never set foot in one (my wife cuts my hair). But I found this guy's approach to running a business fascinating. I find I read a much wider range of subjects and viewpoints on the printed page.

Newspaper articles tend to be more in-depth than most on-line postings. There are exceptions, especially when there are links to original sources such as court filings, speech transcripts, patents, etc. But much of the really good stuff (research papers, etc) are still behind paywalls were I can only read a summary.

I realize there is enough hatred of Mr Murdoch on Slashdot that someone is bound to say I am nuts to read one of his newspapers. I have subscribed to the WSJ since before he bought them and I don't like everything he has done to them. From what I have seen of his tabloids, I wouldn't waste my time. But once you look past their worship of money, there is lots of interesting stuff.

Comment WP7=Nokia (Score 1) 377

All they did was move the current world-wide market share of Symbian over to WP7. This means they are making two assumptions:

1) Nokia will maintain its current smartphone market share in spite of WP7
2) Nobody else will provide WP7 on their phones. Or if they do, new adopters will cancel out market share losses by Nokia

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

...Or do you consider Social Security a handout? Please tell me.

1. Something given free to a needy person or organization.

No, Social Security does not meet the definition of a handout. It is not given free. The money paid out in "benefits" is collected in taxes from other people. These people do not have a choice whether or not to pay the taxes.

I am planning to NOT accept Social Security payments (if the system still exists) when I retire. I do not have a right to put a gun to your head to take your money for my retirement, I cannot let government do it on my behalf.

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