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Inside Ford's New Silicon Valley Lab

AaronW Re:Good example of bad use of touch screens (39 comments)

Tesla also has steering wheel controls which are highly configurable which can control the radio and climate control. There is also voice input.

4 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

AaronW Re:Bay Area (512 comments)

The company I work for has fairly good diversity. The company is a chip company with a number of software teams for things like compilers, SDKs, drivers, the Linux kernel, bootloaders, etc. While it isn't 50:50 there are a lot of women developers and while the majority are indian there are a fair number of caucasian and other minorities as well. We hire what we can get. We have positions that have been open for months and the majority of those that we interview are of indian descent. We have a hard time finding good engineers, the key word being good. I have interviewed a lot of engineers of all nationalities who I do not consider competent. The competent ones usually have multiple offers.

The problem with the H1Bs are that they are abused by companies like Infosys and for less skilled engineers and IT people. Some companies also seem to have an inordinate number of H1Bs like Cisco. I'm of the firm belief that we need more good engineers and that we need a lot more people graduating from college with degrees in science and engineering.

about a week ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (181 comments)

I ran into that as well, though admittedly the original location had the turn indicator rather low compared to most other cars. They also had to make some changes for the new cruise control features. You still pretty much know what you are getting since they update the options on the web site. Usually the changes are more subtle or new options are added and sometimes removed.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:Not if gas stays under $2/gallon (181 comments)

Most of the people who can afford a Tesla aren't really worried about the price of gas. Electricity is still a LOT cheaper. Also, don't expect those cheap gas prices to last forever. Saudi Arabia is basically using their cheap prices to punish Russia, Iran, Syria, etc. as well as more expensive oil in the US and elsewhere. They're sitting on a huge mountain of cash. Once they've killed the competition expect them to bump their prices back up.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (181 comments)

Tesla outsold BMW, Mercedes and many other cars in its class. The total numbers for 2014 have not been announced yet. If you're comparing Tesla you need to compare BMW's 7 series, Mercedes S class, etc. GM's Cadillac ELR which was supposed to be the Tesla killer flopped big time. There's a two year supply sitting on the lot. Tesla sells more in a week than GM sold ELR's all year.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (181 comments)

Sure they can. GM isn't planning on selling a lot of EVs. There's a big reason Tesla is building their gigafactory. It will dwarf LG's factory which GM uses. GM's $30K price point also likely includes selling them at a loss. They'll sell enough for the credits and that's it. GM may have said the price point, but they didn't say how many they plan to sell.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (181 comments)

It's hard to haggle when each car is custom built to order. There is no inventory of cars. There are well over a dozen different options when you build your car. It's very up-front, showing you exactly how much each option cost and what the total price is. You can't haggle, "Well, I don't really want that option." or "This isn't my first choice for color." since you get exactly what you order.

When there's an inventory of cars it's a lot easier to haggle, especially if a car has been sitting on the lot a while.

Unlike dealerships, the people in the showrooms do not earn a commission on cars sold. Cars are sold online. When you are online you can go through and change options at will until shortly before they build you car. There is no haggling. There are no slimy tactics trying to get you to buy the car. There's no incentive for the salesperson to try and sell you blinker fluid and other crap. The only stuff they sell at the showrooms are accessories, things like floor mats, keychains, storage bags, shirts, jackets, etc. Everything they sell you can also buy online.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (181 comments)

With my Prius I had a couple of minor things related to the engine. One was an oil leak, something far less likely with an EV. I also had to replace a water pump several times and the belt. I also had to regularly change the oil, air filter and fuel filter. I also had to replace the radiator when it sprung a leak. With my Tesla my brakes are used quite a bit less than even with my Prius. There is basically no maintenance required for the drive train. The electric motor is lubricated for 12 years.

The only required maintenance is flushing the coolant every few years, rotating the tires, changing the cabin air filter, wiper blades, etc.

Things like A/C and power steering should also be more reliable than most cars since both are fully electric. The A/C doesn't have flexible hoses and the compressor should be far more reliable than a normal belt-driven one with a clutch. The 12v battery is the same though. I'm getting mine replaced tomorrow (under warranty). Unlike many cars though, it gives plenty of warning. It popped up a message on the dash and contacted Tesla.

Suspension is similar but even the electrical is simpler in many ways. All of those sensors and components needed for a gasoline engine are gone. The number of modules is quite a bit less. Sure, there's the inverters for charging and driving the motors, but many of the other ones are gone. Working on the car is also a lot easier. Where many things in an ICE car are blocked by the engine, they are quite easy to reach in my Tesla. If you remove the front panel under the car or the frunk insert you can reach just about everything.

Even the motor and inverters are very easy to reach. It takes under five minutes to install the entire drivetrain at the factory. The motor is tiny too. The induction motor in my Tesla is 416HP, 445ft-lbs of torque and the size of a large watermelon. There's no transmission, only a 9.73:1 gear reduction to the differential. The motor is smaller than the transmission on many cars.

Many of the failure points are gone. There's no transmission, ignition system, engine water pump, thermostat, belts, fuel pumps, smog stuff, catalytic converter or muffler.

Some problems can be addressed remotely. I have had issues fixed and even new features added from periodic software updates that are done over the air.

For an all-wheel drive EV it gets even better since there are is no drive shaft or transfer case between the front and rear wheels.

One other difference is that the mechanics seem to be quite a bit cleaner than the ones I see working on ICE cars.

My car has had more than average maintenance since mine is one of the early ones (low 5000s VIN). Virtually all of the issues I have run into were addressed in later versions of the car. Most of my issues were various rattles and noise related. When the 12v battery started to fail the car notified me before it happened and also contacted Tesla. Tesla called me about replacing it under warranty before I told them about the problem.

One difference between Tesla and other car manufacturers is that Tesla builds far more of their own stuff in-house. Most car companies farm a lot of stuff out. It makes it far more difficult to make changes. Tesla, on the other hand, can make changes almost immediately. They don't wait for mid-year or the next year to make changes. You can't say you have a 2012 or 2013 car since they make changes every few months, often adding new features.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

AaronW Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (181 comments)

The whole dealership model doesn't fit Tesla very well. Unlike dealerships, there are not cars sitting on a lot. The cars are built to order, customized with each customer's requirements. There is no inventory of new cars.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

AaronW Re:I'm shocked, SHOCKED! (190 comments)

Unlike your old diesel burner, there are no oil changes and the service is optional and not required for the warranty to be honored.

about three weeks ago
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Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

AaronW Re:I'm shocked, SHOCKED! (190 comments)

There is a lot less periodic maintenance required and maintenance is far easier. The recommended maintenance is every 12K miles. The maintenance includes a wheel alignment, changing the wiper blades, cabin air filter, tire rotation, inspections and any software updates (though the car periodically allows the user to install them when they're downloaded over the air). The electric motor is lubricated for 12 years, according to one of the techs I spoke with at the factory. Many of the items that need maintenance are just not there or need less periodic maintenance. Many things can be diagnosed remotely without even having to bring the car in. My car was one of the early ones that received a defective 12v battery because the battery manufacturer decided to subcontract it out to China who subcontracted it out to Viet Nam. Tesla contacted me about replacing the battery within a couple of days of a weak battery being detected.

Sure, you still have tires (which can be rotated or replaced just about anywhere), a cabin air filter, wiper blades, suspension, etc. but these are not the money makers. The number of moving parts is a fraction of what it is in an ICE car.On top of that, much of the maintenance is far easier since many parts are far more accessible without a big engine in the way. Even things like brake pads will last far longer on an EV. There are no spark plugs, no fuel filters, engine air filters, oil changes or belts to change. There's minimal chance of laking oil seals and no smog related work. There's no catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, etc to deal with. And if you do need to do something like pull the electric motor, it is a far easier process. They install the entire drive train in the Model S in under 4 minutes since it's all in a single module, including the motor, differential, inverter, rear axels, etc. Removing it is not the huge job it is in an ICE car.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College

AaronW Re:Free? (703 comments)

Often the education ends up paying for itself in the long run. For example, the GI bill after World War II was probably one of the best investments this country ever made. Typically, in the long run, those with college educations earn more money and in turn pay more in taxes.

about three weeks ago
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US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

AaronW Re:wrong answer (231 comments)

Except in this case the entire country is already censored, so blocking it won't be censoring anyone except those few who do have Internet access, like the despicable people in charge and the hackers. If it were just about any other country I'd agree with you.NK is second to last for the most censored country according to reporters without borders, second only to Eritrae.

about a month ago
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US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

AaronW Just block their IP netblocks (231 comments)

They only have two, 175.45.176.0/22 and 210.52.109.0/24 as far as I can tell. It's not like we'd be blocking the general population of NK.

Source.

about a month ago
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What Northern Hemisphere Astronomers Are Missing From the Southern Hemisphere

AaronW Re:I just wish I could see the stars! (104 comments)

It would be nice. Fortunately I don't have to drive more than an hour or so to get a clear night sky but I do miss the sky from when I was young, before all the land was built up.

about a month ago
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What Northern Hemisphere Astronomers Are Missing From the Southern Hemisphere

AaronW I just wish I could see the stars! (104 comments)

The light pollution where I live is so bad that only a few stars are visible on a clear night. I frequently wish all the street lights could be turned off for a change. I doubt that the switch to LED street lights will improve things. In fact, I imagine it will make things worse for the local observatory (Lick) since it is relatively easy to filter out sodium.

about a month ago
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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

AaronW Re:Newest battery technology? (128 comments)

I can't compare to other performance cars since this is the first one I've owned. It does great on the highway and passing though I imagine some of the other performance cars do better. There is no lag which is nice so it is extremely responsive. Handling is quite good, not as good as the P85+ but it does quite well, especially given its weight. It's certainly fun to drive on those windy mountain roads, and the high torque does quite well on steep grades. It's also quite forgiving considering how much torque it has and the traction control works extremely well at holding the tires at the edge with just a little slip unlike other cars I have driven. I haven't driven the P85D yet and they stopped making the P85 (which is what I have).

about a month ago
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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

AaronW Re:Call me when.. (128 comments)

The difference is that I can charge at home overnight to a full battery in my garage and I spend 5 seconds plugging in at night and 5 seconds unplugging in the morning. The beauty of it is that I don't need to go to a filling station except on long trips.

As more and more charging stations go in, most charging will happen at home and/or work where charging time doesn't matter.

about a month ago
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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

AaronW Re:Newest battery technology? (128 comments)

Currently Tesla charges at over 250 amps with their superchargers and I charge mine at home at 80 amps. As you say, though, the biggest limitations will be cooling and just getting that much current into the car. I think it's amazing that Tesla is able to handle 120KW through their current connector (and I hear they're experimenting with 150KW). None of the other charging connectors come close to this. They might also need to increase their active cooling of the batteries.

Right now my P85 will draw upwards of 310KW from the battery pack, but only for short bursts when accelerating hard.

Charging this fast might require something similar to their battery swapping, with a large connector built directly in to the battery along with support for the coolant loop where something comes up under the car to charge and actively cool the battery when handling so much current.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Scientists develop paint to help cool the planet

AaronW AaronW writes  |  about 2 months ago

AaronW (33736) writes "Engineers at Stanford University have developed an ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings but also directs internal heat away from the building using a system called "photonic radiative cooling." The coating is capable of reflecting away 97% of incoming sunlight and when combined with the photonic radiative cooling system it becomes cooler than the surrounding air by around 9F (5C). The material is designed to radiate heat into space at a precise frequency that allows it to pass through the atmosphere without warming it.

The material is designed to be cost effective for large-scale deployments."

Link to Original Source
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Researchers Closer to Industrial Graphene Production Due to $10 Bet

AaronW AaronW writes  |  about 5 months ago

AaronW (33736) writes "After trying and failing to convince Nina Kovtyukhona to test her technique of separating layers of graphite and boron nitride to instead try graphene, Thomas E. Mallouk made a bet with Nina that her technique method would work. If it worked, Nina would owe him $10. If it didn't, he would owe her $100. Thomas is now $10 richer and we are now a step closer to industrial scale graphene production."
Link to Original Source
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3mm Inexpensive Chip Revolutionizes Electron Accelerators

AaronW AaronW writes  |  about a year ago

AaronW (33736) writes "Scientists and engineers at the US DOE SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have discovered an advanced accelerator technology smaller than a grain of rice. It is currently accelerating electrons at 300 million volts per meter with a goal of achieving 1 billion EV per meter. It could do in 100 feet what the SLAC linear accelerator does in two miles and could achieve a million more electron pulses per second. This could lead to more compact accelerators and X-ray devices."
Link to Original Source
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Earth May Once Had Two Moons

AaronW AaronW writes  |  more than 3 years ago

AaronW (33736) writes "According to a story at space.com, Earth may once have had two moons. The smaller moon, estimated to be 750 miles (1200km) wide and only 4% of the mass of the larger moon, crashed into the far side of the larger moon which caused the features we see today on the moon. The surface of the far side of the moon is quite different than the side facing the earth, having a different composition and a much rougher terrain."
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Moon Rock from Apollo 11 Sent Back Into Space

AaronW AaronW writes  |  more than 5 years ago

AaronW writes "According to this article at collectspace.com, a rock collected by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission was quietly sent up to the ISS back in March. It was sent up in a special case to protect it with instructions given to the astronauts to not open it. Contamination isn't a huge issue since the rock sample had already been exposed to the air and was not that remarkable, resembling Hawaiian lava. It will be revealed tonight for a 40th anniversary celebration at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC."

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