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Irony (2, Insightful)

Ron Harwood (136613) | about 9 years ago | (#13037476)

Are the start and destination supposed to be ironic (oil vs solar power)?

Re:Irony (1)

Dominatus (796241) | about 9 years ago | (#13037494)

How in god's name is it ironic?

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

Black Cardinal (19996) | about 9 years ago | (#13037545)

Texas and Alberta are both big oil-producing regions.

Re:Irony (1)

Ron Harwood (136613) | about 9 years ago | (#13037550)

Perhaps your understanding of irony is flawed due to excessive Alanis Morissette listening.

Irony [] ...

Re:Irony (0)

Dominatus (796241) | about 9 years ago | (#13037582)

Ummm, actually I believe *you* used it incorrectly

Irony means, as from the link you showed me, the opposite of what is to be expected, or in their words


1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1.


1. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
2. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.

Re:Irony (1)

Dominatus (796241) | about 9 years ago | (#13037612)

I apologize, I thought you were implying it was ironic because "wow?! what are the chances" but after further reading your comment I see now what you meant. Im sorry.

Re:Irony (2)

phasm42 (588479) | about 9 years ago | (#13037676)

I think this is the first time I've seen someone sincerely apologize for a misunderstanding on Slashdot.

Re:Irony (3, Funny)

dubiousdave (618128) | about 9 years ago | (#13037879)

Perhaps it's a clever new form of flamebait?

Re:Irony (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13038124)

It may only be the first time it has come from a first post, but it happens often enough deep down in the threads.
More often however its 2 or 3 days after the article hit the front page, so the chances of seeing it are low :)

Re:Irony (1, Insightful)

tricops (635353) | about 9 years ago | (#13037555)

What does solar have to do with the destination? Alberta is known for oil and gas, and some wind turbines as well in some select areas... As a resident of Calgary, I haven't a clue what you're on about.

That aside, I really wish the link hadn't died within the first minute... it would be interesting to see when/where they're coming in so I could have a looksee.

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

wankledot (712148) | about 9 years ago | (#13037766)

That's the point. They are traveling between two oil towns. It would be like staging an anti-nuke march between 3 mile island and chernobyl. (obviously not possible, but you get the idea.) Or having a defense-of-marriage march through the middle of the Castro district.

Re:Irony (0, Flamebait)

flithm (756019) | about 9 years ago | (#13037873)

Also as a resident of Calgary, I would like to say that most of us here actually understand irony.

Come on tricops you're giving us a bad name! At least wait for the people from Austin to say something stupid before starting up.

Re:Irony (3, Informative)

gonk (20202) | about 9 years ago | (#13037847)

A little FYI. Austin Energy leads the nation in green power. From

"GreenChoice is the most successful utility-sponsored green power program in the nation with 383 million kWh in subscriptions at the end of 2004."

(yes, I'm a GreenChoice household)

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

beasstman (462291) | about 9 years ago | (#13038141)

Enmax (the major power supplier for Calgary) also has a fairly serious program to promote alternate energy. As one poster pointed out, they have a number of windmills, and claim the local light rail runs on power from it. (I find it hard to believe they actually have the power seperated out in a special grid, I suspect they just produce *enough* power from wind to run the trains, but the marketing imagery is clever anyway)

Users can also sign up to help pay for wind generation by paying a bit more for electricity. []

Yep, when I lived there I was a GreenMax member.

That said, I do love the choice of Austin to Calgary for a solar race. Very appropriate...

prime postage! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037480)

prime postage!

WTF? (4, Funny)

Quasar1999 (520073) | about 9 years ago | (#13037486)

Non-reusable energy? Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it simply is transferred around. What does non-reusable mean exactly? Do they mean non-renewable?

Re:WTF? - Entropy! (2, Informative)

BrianMarshall (704425) | about 9 years ago | (#13037622)

It is true that energy is neither created nor destroyed. However, gasoline is a highly concentrated, relatively low-entropy source of energy that can be used to do things; after it is used, the energy is still around, but it is in the form of heat - first in the engine and exhaust, then in the air, then just around - a relatively high-entropy form of energy.

In other words, gasoline is non-reusable in the sense that you can get work out of it when you burn it, but once it has been burned, it is burnt.

Re:WTF? - Entropy! (2, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 9 years ago | (#13037685)

That's not *entirely* true. A turbocharger uses the power from the waste gasses(exhaust) to drive the turbine that then adds boost to the air/fuel mix. So in that sense, the gasoline is used twice ;)

Re:WTF? - Entropy! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 years ago | (#13037968)

A turbocharger increases the backpressure, which increases the engine load. It would probably be just as effective (though more geometrically challenging) to run the turbo-charger directly off the shaft.

The turbo is not running off of unspent fuel (and if it were, some kind of system for preventing that.. say a turbo of some kind... would be appropriate) So no, you're not getting 'free power' from the spent gasses.

Re:WTF? - Entropy! (1)

Bun (34387) | about 9 years ago | (#13038080)

A turbocharger increases the backpressure, which increases the engine load. It would probably be just as effective (though more geometrically challenging) to run the turbo-charger directly off the shaft.

You mean a supercharger [] would be just as effective? Maybe.

Re:WTF? - Entropy! (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 9 years ago | (#13038168)

I didn't say you were getting free power. I simply stated that the energy from the gasoline was being used more than once, in more than one manner.

And as someone already pointed out, you described a supercharger

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

Shkuey (609361) | about 9 years ago | (#13037670)

In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037677)

I'm pretty sure that the funniest thing about this topic is the fact that the headline is mispelled...

Re:WTF? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037900)

Solar energy is NOT a "renewable" resource. According to peer-reviewed articles, we may reach 'Peak Solar' in as little as two billion years.

We have got along so far only by squandering the material and energy resources accumulated during the formation of the solar system. But we are using them at an ever-increasing rate. And when they're gone, they're gone.

Isn't it time that we cleaned up our act and resolved to leave the solar system as we found it?

Do it for the children.

Reusable solar energy! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037490)

Great, so now I can use the same bit of sunlight over and over until I have enough power stored up to finally take over the world!

Uhm (5, Informative)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | about 9 years ago | (#13037492)

Solar isn't reusable. There's just a lot of it.

Re:Uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037668)

Well, technically, the sun uses it first, then we get to use it. :)

Race the Sun was it called? (1)

JossiRossi (840900) | about 9 years ago | (#13037495)

Wasn't Halley Berry in this movie? I hope she wins! I have the faith! Hollywood always makes the end a surprise!

Re:Race the Sun was it called? (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 9 years ago | (#13037814)

That was in the World Solar Challenge down in Australia.

Double Negative Confusion! (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 9 years ago | (#13037496)

I read they summary as "allowed to use non-reusable" at first.

I don't like no double-negatives.

Ain't got no double negatives! (2, Funny)

pestie (141370) | about 9 years ago | (#13037500)

with no non-reusable energy.

And apparently without no double negatives, too!

Non-reusable energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037502)

Now that's some trick! They must have some mojo rejigger the entropy of the system to prevent reuse of the cast off heat.

Non-reusable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037510)

Perhaps instead, "non-renewable"?

Reusable energy sounds like a perpetual motion machine to me.

Re:Non-reusable? (1)

ray-auch (454705) | about 9 years ago | (#13037772)

But how is solar energy "renewable" ? Where exactly we going to get another sun from when this one runs out ?

Solar is no more renewable than oil - there is just more of it and it is going to last longer, so we think there's more than we'll ever need.

Probably at one time people thought that about oil too.

Re:Non-reusable? (1)

sapgau (413511) | about 9 years ago | (#13037830)

Well in order to fit such grandiose statement then the article is not misspelled.

Re:Non-reusable? (1)

itsmekirby (858745) | about 9 years ago | (#13038201)

The difference between solar and oil, is that there truly is more solar than we'll ever need. By the time solar energy runs out, the earth will either by engulfed in flames, or plunged into a permanent freeze (not sure which, I think both). By that point, the human race won't have much more use for solar energy on earth, because hopefully we would have other places to go. But you are correct in saying that technically solar energy is not renewable.

Slow northerly journey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037511)

According to my atlas, it's all UP to get there!

I have no idea (-1, Redundant)

Whafro (193881) | about 9 years ago | (#13037516)

...all with no non-reusable energy.


Non-reusable energy? (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | about 9 years ago | (#13037517)

Once the energy goes to heat (friction, etc) isn't it effectively non-reusable? Unless they're collecting it for steam turbines or something....

Speeds up 80 clicks? (3, Funny)

lheal (86013) | about 9 years ago | (#13037524)

Why don't they just use the sunlight as direct propulsion? Then they'd go really fast.

There's probably some reason they don't. Those people are really smart.

Are there rules against travelling at close to light speed in these races? Oh, I see, they go throught towns. That must be it.

neat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037527)

here's some really cool photos of the Queens' University car. []

Down here in the States, it's hard enough to get equal marriage rights... but in Canada, there is a whole University just for Queens!

Re:neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13038006)

That would be Queen's University. As in Queen Victoria. As opposed to the University of Victoria, which is presumably named after her west coast city. She had universities in Kingston (Canada), Cork, Dublin, Galway and Belfast, towns in Canada, a state in Australia, a waterfall in Africa, etc. All the marbles, basically.

Re:neat (1)

black mariah (654971) | about 9 years ago | (#13038060)

You must be REALLY fun at parties. You're the twat that hangs around the punch bowl warning people about eating food from a communal source, aren't you?

Fron? (2, Informative)

agm (467017) | about 9 years ago | (#13037537)

Can't the editors do something so simple as spell check a word a 6 year old can spell?

Ummm... (2, Funny)

T_R_J (533553) | about 9 years ago | (#13037540)

What is Fron? Fron Fron...?? ....From?

Re:Ummm... (1)

VeganBob (888165) | about 9 years ago | (#13037891)

I don't know who he is either, but he must be tired from racing all of the solar-powered cars.

Good luck! (2, Funny)

Mr2cents (323101) | about 9 years ago | (#13037544)

.. and I hope it will become a better success than the arctic winter solar car race.

Re:Good luck! (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 9 years ago | (#13037961)

yeah they're still waiting for the solar flairs you know.

Coral Cache (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037547)

Solar Lifetime (2, Interesting)

Valacosa (863657) | about 9 years ago | (#13037568)

I'll be rooting for my home team. []
How much energy does it take to make a solar panel? Once in a while I hear someone say that solar panels take more energy to manufacture than they will produce in their entire lifetime, but I don't buy that without any numbers...

home team (1)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 9 years ago | (#13037594)

Me too. []

(FYI, the Michigan team has won the race numerous times, and has a budget exceeding $1 million.)

Re:Solar Lifetime (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037922)

The numbers I have been taught (studying sustainable development) is that a solar cell works with semiconductors, preferrably rather rare such ones, such as indium for instance. These minerals are at sparse concentrations when mining, so the energy consumtion is indeed great. However, a modern photovoltaic solar panel has an efficiency of somewhere 15%-20% of incoming energy from the sun. The energy needed to mine what's needed measures to somewhere between two and five years (depending on type. there are a dozen of them) of its lifetime in production. Solar cells usually run for around twenty years, so somewhere between one tenth and a fourth of its lifespan is used just to make up for its own production.

Route (2, Informative)

JeiFuRi (888436) | about 9 years ago | (#13037578)

I wonder what route they will be taking. But anyways, heres a nice idea of the distance between the two locations from Google Maps []

Re:Route (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037603)

Whatever route they take, the speed limit is 110KM/h (70 mph) in Alberta.

They will possibly end up with a nice speeding ticket.

Pity they're not going near San Diego (1)

SST-206 (699646) | about 9 years ago | (#13037637)

They could have parked here [] .

KYOCERA Inaugurates First-Ever Solar Grove, Unleashing "Power of the Sun" for Parking Facilities "Solar Trees" Convert Parking Lot into 235-Kilowatt Solar Electric Generating System.

(Alas, both websites are already /.'ed with only 23 comments.)

Cafeine-powered Editor Spell from like pron (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037595)

no non-reusable energy

no non-nonsense editing

This is Uber smart :) :) :) (4, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#13037623)

This is the smartest way to build new technologies. Find some really smart science kids (well maybe not kids, but at my age people in their 20's are puppies).

Anyways, find these smart pups and have an open competition. Not only will the smart kids find ways to build things, but they must be economical. It is not like a lab at Motorola with millions of dollars.

And third, patent everything these kids do, by a univeristy or some trusted public group, and let anyone use the patents for free (except Microsoft, fuck them).

The genius of this system is kids love to compete and show off their genius. They will do it all for pride and because it is interesting. It stimulates their mind, they get caught up in it, and they build fantastic things. Meanwhile, everyone else benifits, no monopolies from these new inventions. And maybe the public group that holds these patents could use them as leverage against large companies, to force them to pay a fee, and in some cases to ban them from using the patent for their preditory buisness practices.

This is how a community can help itself without giving one CEO compelete power to ruin lives.

And I hope these kids build things that soon will be used in real cars, to reduce the amount of gasoline needed. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have cars with 100 miles per gallon of gas, and that emitted 1/10th the amount of pollution? It is possible.

And in real life... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 9 years ago | (#13038224)

We have companies like New Generation Motors [] , which is owned by the former advisors of the George Washington University solar car team, and they used equiptment that had been bought for the project tax exempt. (and when I tried asking for the stuff back, I got bitched out and told that our faculty advisor could store the stuff whereever he wanted, even if it meant we couldn't use it on the project) -- although he was kind enough to give us stuff with 'property of NASA' tags on it, where two of them also worked.

They claimed the work of students as that of the company, and they made axial flux motors that are used in many of the solar cars today.

I reported this to the Dean of GW's engineering school in 1995 (right after the success of GW at the World Solar Rallye [] ), and was threatened with expulsion to shut me up. (I didn't know he was bringing in a $3mil grant to the university, and they'd rather have that, than ethics).

Of course, the faculty advisor kept being greedy, and was finally charged with embezzlement [] for a completely unrelated grant last year.

Looks like their web server is solar powered (3, Funny)

Omega1045 (584264) | about 9 years ago | (#13037627)

See subject line. The sun is just going down here in Austin, and I see their server is fried. Using the reasoning I have learned here at Slashdot, that means that their server must be solar powered!

Re:Looks like their web server is solar powered (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | about 9 years ago | (#13037703)

No, according to Slashdot reasoning, their server is polar soured (i.e. as fucked as you would be if you were up in the arctic with nothing but whiskey for food).

speed limits, safety? (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 9 years ago | (#13037644)

Travelling at speeds of up to 130km/hr (80mph), these teams will race from Austin Texas to Calgary Alberta all with no non-reusable energy.

That will be an impressive feat, with the US Federal highway speed limit of 65, and a Canadian speed limit on major roads up there not much faster; 100km/hr to 120km/hr, if I recall on my last trip?(it was months ago, sorry). Why is it that nobody else is allowed to break the speed limit, but these guys are? Particularly given their vehicles have about zero crashworthyness?

I'm also curious how they plan to keep solar cars from mixing with general traffic; there has been at least one fatal accident involving a solar car (which came apart like paper mache) a few months ago when a solar vehicle was being tested.

Honestly, what was wrong with an enduro race on a closed race circuit? At least then it would be more controllable, and emergency/rescue crews would be barely a minute or two from any participant. There are numerous reasons we do our racing OFF public roads...

Re:speed limits, safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037694)

Umm, what federal speed limit would that be? That was revoked years ago - here in New Mexico we have lots of roads with speed limits of 70, 75 and even 80.

Re:speed limits, safety? (2, Informative)

(startx) (37027) | about 9 years ago | (#13037746)

There hasn't been a Federal Interstate speed lmit in, oh, 10 years now. Each state is allowed to set their own Interstate speed limits. For example, it's 70mph through most of MO, and 75 in CO I think. Interestingly, the last time I drove through KS to CO, everyone slowed down when crossing the border, even though the speed limit went up! I think it had something to do with the sign that said "Speed limits are enforced."

Back On-topic: Go UMR [] ! Time for Solar Miner IV to win a second race!

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

(startx) (37027) | about 9 years ago | (#13037793)

Time for Solar Miner IV to win a second race!

Looks like I should have checked the page before I submitted. The current car is Solar Miner V, not IV!

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 9 years ago | (#13037810)

Interestingly, the last time I drove through KS to CO, everyone slowed down when crossing the border, even though the speed limit went up! I think it had something to do with the sign that said "Speed limits are enforced."

I'm from CO, and drove to KS each year to visit relatives. Believe me: it's because, well, it's Kansas. You get in, get out, as fast as possible.

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 9 years ago | (#13037755)

Well, I can tell you that's well below the unofficial Northern California speed limit. Here, everyone drives as fast as they feel like (usually around 90 mph) and the cops pull people over at random. It works out pretty well. Most people can rest assured they won't get a ticket for a number of years, and you get places quicker. Though, I do have a problem with all these damn Hummer H2s going ninety-plus, but, let's face it, a few Deep Impacts every now and then are the price we have to pay for progress.

Re:speed limits, safety? (3, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 9 years ago | (#13038186)

Although I'm pretty young and should drive fast and reckless, my A4 gets about 19-23mpg at 80MPH and about 34-38mpg at 60. I rarely drive to/from work faster than 55-60. Honestly, why would I? It doesn't feel like a race anymore once you slow down. It's kinda like that time when you forget to where your watch and never put it on again because of your newly discovered freedom.
Not to mention how much longer one's car will last because you're not driving it like your insane.
I see these benefits for taking my time:
#1. Almost 2x the mpg.
#2. Longer lasting car.
#3. I don't live my life in a race.
#4. I don't need to worry about speeding tickets.
#5. (Probably) less accidents - my reaction time stays the same but my braking distance decreases.

Tell me why it's cool to drive (not) really fast again? People like to think they're rebels over here because they can drive over 90. Pathetic.

Oh, I even forgot to discuss the manslaughter charges when you get busted for speeds 100+. (Could be higher or lower in your state)

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

modecx (130548) | about 9 years ago | (#13037773)

Yeah, that speed limit thing has been gone a long time now.

Remember that thing about Montana, and how basically there were no speed limits for a few years? I so wish I could've taken a Ferrari around there, but I have a feeling the roads suck.

Speeds on most rural interstates are at least 75MPH. Except in southern states apparently. Arkansas to Virginia on I-40 is the slowest. Ugh. 55mph practically all the way. Going I-70 coast to coast would be faster, even considering the several hundred miles you have to make up.

Re:speed limits, safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037782)

Honestly, what was wrong with an enduro race on a closed race circuit? At least then it would be more controllable, and emergency/rescue crews would be barely a minute or two from any participant.

Lighten up. Nobody is being forced to pilot these cars. I'm sure hundreds of people would happily a waiver and be a 130 km/h solar-power test pilot on the interstate.

Re:speed limits, safety? (2, Informative)

joshstaiger (213677) | about 9 years ago | (#13037784)

That will be an impressive feat, with the US Federal highway speed limit of 65, and a Canadian speed limit on major roads up there not much faster; 100km/hr to 120km/hr, if I recall on my last trip?(it was months ago, sorry). Why is it that nobody else is allowed to break the speed limit, but these guys are?

This alternate article [] states that each car must obey local speed limits.

So it sounds like the race becomes more about efficiency and conservation of energy through the cloudy spells than it is about raw speed.

-- []

Highway limits not correct. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 years ago | (#13037910)

US lifted the highway limit years ago and left it up to the states to determine the speed limit on their segments. Oddly the federal limit came down at around the same time that Montana removed its autobahn-like 'reasonable and prudent' limit on some state highways. Both the Interstate and the State highways near me (out here on the east coast) have speed limits of 75 mph. I have not seen 80 or higher, but there is no reason it cannot exist.

But yah.. I'd sure hate to crash one of those solar cars. Or drive it over a poorly maintained highway. or drive it at all really.

Solar races are particular disheartening when you realise that they ARE the state of the art. There will never be a solar powered minivan or even a solar sedan. There simply is not enough insolation to move that profile at reasonable highway speeds. There might still be some speed improvements in the racers, but solar vehicles that could fit on a highway are always going to be flimsy 1-2 passenger deathbikes.

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

Evil-Lab-Monkey (732471) | about 9 years ago | (#13037965)

The cars are mostly street legal and follow all the same rules as regular cars. They have turn signals and brake lights and there has been a lot more invested in safety since one of the contestants died last time they ran this race, two years ago. When they ran it in '03 one of the cars got a speeding ticket so everyone knows the rules. Having said that, most cars won't go anything near those speeds. It's more an indurance race at speed of 50km/h. They keep the cars off the major highways as much as possible untill they hit Canada, then they go down the Trans Canada.

Re:speed limits, safety? (1)

teratogenicbenzene (887723) | about 9 years ago | (#13038046)

I actually partipated in the Sunrayce 97 and 99, with the LLCC team ( [] ). The NGM motors that most of the teams used (and the one used by all of the top finishers) was digitally limited to approximately 72mph.

One of the best questions ever asked was about the feasibility of these cars. (i.e. are they actually viable, or are they engineers toys?)

I would pretty much have to respond that these are still very much just testbeds for solar research. Several square yards of solar cells (usually very fragile) are never going to be mainstream, and these vehicles are built to be as absolutely light as possible.
That said, these vehicles are amazing. I could easily push our vehicle with only my pinky, and total energy consumption at top speed was less than a hair drier. In my experience, these competitions really distinguish the brilliant and intuitive engineers from the commonplace ones.

All cars must pass several exhaustive safety checks, "scrutineering", where literally every bolt, nut, wire and square inch of composite is inspected by experienced engineers. (They even check the manufacturer's marks on bolts!) As a matter of fact, I remember that Texas A&M was disqualified because their vehicle rode an inch and a quarter too low to the ground. I wouldn't want to put one of our cars up against a semi, but safety is a primary concern to those involved. I mean, c'mon, how many people drive around much smaller (and less protected) motorcycles?

All that flatness (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 9 years ago | (#13037653)

Certainly leaving Texas is a noble goal, but the route seems a bit boring. It is a race, so passing through Kansas as rapidly as possible is on everyone's mind, but then it always is, no matter what. Austin to Vancouver would be a lot more challenging.

Re:All that flatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037739)

Austin Texas is one of the coolest cities in the US perhaps a more noble goal on your part would be to come and check it out.

Re:All that flatness (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 9 years ago | (#13037783)

Been there, done that. The vast majority of Texans think that Austin should be sold to some other state cheap, and the capital moved to Lubbock. Austin is the coolness ghetto of Texas.

Re:All that flatness (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 years ago | (#13037868)

Certainly leaving Texas is a noble goal, but the route seems a bit boring.

I usually don't watch a solar-powered car race for excitement, but I suppose they event organizers could put a few suicidal hills and a few land mines for excitement. Maybe even allow the competitors to have oil slicks, smoke machines, or machine guns. And have a lead car blaring out the theme to Spy Hunter during the race. Now that would NOT be boring.

Hot Damn Tamale! (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 9 years ago | (#13037664)

The way the weather has been in Austin this last month, they should have enough power to fly to Calgary... if they don't burst into flames first.

I have a mental image of a non-air conditioned vehicle dodging 18 wheelers on I-35.

Hell on Earth. (Welcome to Texas)

Re:Hot Damn Tamale! (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | about 9 years ago | (#13037856)

Hell on Earth. (Welcome to Texas)

I thought that was Missouri (Misery), or maybe I'm confusing it with Detroit?

Canadians Cells Solar Sails (1)

comzen (830240) | about 9 years ago | (#13037705)

Q. - How many Canadians does it take to build a solar car?

Finally. This is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037733)

A ham radio story on slashdot! Woohoo! :-)

Fron (2, Insightful)

Bullseye_blam (589856) | about 9 years ago | (#13037735)

I'm sorry to complain, but Slashdot's quality has really gone to hell lately. To be honest, I don't understand much about the editing process here, but something really needs to change. Between the mis-spellings and constantly late and duplicate articles, I think this web site could stand for some improvement.

Re:Fron (1)

BigGerman (541312) | about 9 years ago | (#13037803)

These guys are sitting on a gold mine (properly edited /. with well-developed related services).
It is their baby however and their choice not to make it what it could have been.
Interesting how the quality of the comments went together with the quality of content too.

Re:Fron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037819)

AGREED! What is this crap.

That's Queen's University, not Queens' University (1)

mattrwilliams (534984) | about 9 years ago | (#13037744)

Here's a link to the main university website: [] For those not familiar with it, Queen's is one of the top engineering schools in Canada. It is located in Kingston, Ontario (on Lake Ontario in fact).

Re:That's Queen's University, not Queens' Universi (1)

raider_red (156642) | about 9 years ago | (#13037977)

After all, we all know that Queens' University is in Austin, and Leslie is its president.

Re:That's Queen's University, not Queens' Universi (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 9 years ago | (#13038111)

After all, we all know that Queens' University is in Austin, and Leslie is its president.

I'm probably the one of the few that understands this joke, but unfortunately I don't have any mod points.

But I can offer this, which is the first non-paid hit when Googling for "leslie austin": 000742.html []

Racing from tyranny to freedom (2, Interesting)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 9 years ago | (#13037774)

too bad it's uphill, but at least most of the route is flat.

One interesting impact will be that if you fail to make it all the way, you start off receiving more solar radiation (power) at the beginning of the race than you have at the end of the race, as you start closer to the equator than you finish at.

Thus, a system with a slightly better power storage system (battery) and more efficient battery cycles, might have an edge in the race over a more efficient vehicle with a smaller battery storage and/or less efficient battery cycles.

I remember being a founding member of SESCI, Inc. way back when, so this route is really fun ...

Could anyone tell me the purpose of this race? (1)

theurge14 (820596) | about 9 years ago | (#13037829)

I'm well aware that many of you are either on one of these solar car teams or were in years past.

So perhaps one of you could tell me, why do they do this race every year? Does this race actually advance the solar cell technology and improve the efficiency from year to year, or is it merely everyone spending a year shaving off weight so they have bragging rights over the other schools for 12 months?

I guess my point is, are the cars racing now that much more improved than when they did the race 5 years ago? If not, what's the big hoopla about?

Thank you.

Re:Could anyone tell me the purpose of this race? (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | about 9 years ago | (#13037896)

They do this for several reason (some of which you already said).

1. Raise awareness for solar power as a renewable energy.
2. Promote advancement in design of power system involving solar power. This includes power panels, recharging battery, and motor.

And while shaving weight do help, it's actually more important trying to get more efficient motors, better power panels and panel placement and better battery while finding a good balance between them.

Re:Could anyone tell me the purpose of this race? (1)

Evil-Lab-Monkey (732471) | about 9 years ago | (#13038008)

First off, the race is not ran every year. It's ran every second year. There has been significan advancement in the solar array department in the last couple of years. The array we installed on our car is far more efficient than one we could have put on last time the race was ran. The motor we installed in ours, which is the same one the majority of the other contenders is a brand new technology as well. It's a three phase brushless DC motor that's direct drive. The company that makes it is a perfect example of why we run this race. It's few university students who came up with an idea and gathered a few bucks to start up their own business. Without this race they never would have had the chance to do any of it. They're now working converting things like Dodge Rams to use these electric motors. It's very much on the cutting edge and it really lets creativity bloom even on a shoestring budget.

What's the purpose of any competition? (1)

gvc (167165) | about 9 years ago | (#13038032)

To win, to have fun, to learn something, to promote oneself, to promote awareness.

What's the point of your favourite form of entertainment?

By the way, here's Waterloo's entry [] .


theurge14 (820596) | about 9 years ago | (#13038070)

Interesting stuff.

Re:Could anyone tell me the purpose of this race? (2, Informative)

vlado4 (819670) | about 9 years ago | (#13038096)

I have been on the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project for the past four years and this is the first race that I will be missing due to graduation. To answer your question, it is important to keep the competition going. No, cars are not completely re-designed every year, however constantly rebuilding them allows a proper evolution to occur. The UMN team is particularly interesting because we try to do as much of our own work as possible. Power trackers, motor controller, motor, encapsulating the cells, battery controller, etc, are all desgined by us. This doesn't always guarantee the best results vs. some of our competitors who outsource much of their cars to professional companies, but gives us a great feeling of achivement. Out current car, Borealis III, has few revolutionary improvements over Borealis II, but we've fixed many problems that have plagued us in the past and improved our reliability immensely. If we go back five years ago, the car we had then was dramatically inferrior. Now we have an all digital communication system (BDLC), robust power trackers, and good encapsulation. The carbon fiber body of the car improved a lot too. Before it used to crack after significant wear. For more info, check out the official lwebsite of the UMN Solar Vehicle Project. [ [] BTW, we are one of the top teams, the last race, which was from Chicago to LA was tough, but we placed second afret UMR (their array generated much more power). There is also a endurance race around a track that happens in Topeka Kansas every year, which we often place first in.

Double Negatives (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | about 9 years ago | (#13037860)

reusable =1

no non-reusable = !(!reusable) =!(!1)=!0=1=reusable

can't they just say reusable??

Red River College Raycer (1)

Evil-Lab-Monkey (732471) | about 9 years ago | (#13037931)

I'll be routing for the car I worked on. [] The Red River Raycer. We're one of only two colleges entering the race. I had the pleasure of working on the electrical part of the car up until last Thursday. They left on Friday for Austin with our convoy of Civic Hybrids to go through qualifying and scruteneering. We just finished building it on Thursday night, with the solar array working for the first time at about 6:00 in the evening so it was right down to the wire. Wish em luck for me guys.

Fron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13037936)

Fron fron fron fron fron? Fron! ;)

Too bad (1)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | about 9 years ago | (#13037983)

Too bad that it's raining in Austin right now. Doh!

Yummy yummy yummy solar cells..... (1)

technoextreme (885694) | about 9 years ago | (#13038153)

This article reminds me of two solar cells concepts that are being created. The first one that I remember is one that is using the proteins from spinach to actually create power. Here is a link. asp [] Also, I actually created a crude solar cell from either rasberries or blackberries at a science musuem. It actually worked. Now all that needs to be done is to stop the cells from breaking down.

Some relation, perhaps? (1)

Keztro (707220) | about 9 years ago | (#13038189)

It seems that the editors misspelled "from" in the title. Of course, this is sure to just be a clever way of relating this story, to the one about "Tron" above. - K
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