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How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Firethorn Re:non sequitur? (117 comments)

I did read the article, though not before my comment. In it was really nothing new. We've known for ages that with the development of the lithium ion battery that the only thing stopping EVs from being the obvious choice 90% of the time was the cost of the energy storage. From my research, if the giga-factory does succeed at cutting the cost of LiIon in half it's going to be a real game changer, and not just for the EV world.

Why? Last time I checked LiIon was down to below double that of Lead-Acid. That means that if you cut the price in half again lithium Ion will actually be cheaper than Lead-Acid.

That $100 car battery? A lithium-ion equivalent that's 1/10th the weight for the same capacity and probably even more cold cranking amps might be $80.

We've already seen the start of a revolution with nearly all cordless tools becoming LiIon devices rather than NiCd and NiMH.

11 hours ago
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How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Firethorn Re:non sequitur? (117 comments)

He was making the point that lithium is not heavy. Other than that, it's hard to know what else he was trying to say, because the article doesn't give much context.

I know it's not XKCD, but there's relevant SMBC and PHD comics.

Roughly speaking, outside of very dedicated science reporting channels by the time you go from the scientist's representative trying to dumb it down, to the reporter trying to dumb it down, to the editor doing it yet again, accuracy sucks.

Maybe they're trying for a hydrogen battery?

12 hours ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Re:Well built homes (435 comments)

Strange that europeans find those homes fiscaly efficient.

I've traveled the world a bit, you might not believe it but homes in the USA normally compare quite well insulation wise against the rest of the world. Yes, you hear about problems with poorly built homes, but that's because we like talking about them.

What I was talking about for an 'energy neutral home' is one that's been designed such that it needs little to no supplemental heating or cooling. Not even homes in most of Europe are built to this level because the costs are so high in order to do so. Many more homes are built to my more relaxed standard - highly insulated with enough mass inside that heating/cooling aren't necessary every hour of the day.

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Well built homes (435 comments)

Except that there's points, especially with tornados that 'not destroyed completely' is not any better, such as when the repair costs exceed the cost of just building a new home of standard construction. For example, just consider the expense involved with a few broken windows letting in sleets of water.

I like the idea of energy efficient homes, I just know there are points where said homes are not fiscally efficient.

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Re:Cheap grid storage (435 comments)

Given that I used Model S batteries, 'greater range vehicles' would account for it rather easily.

Recreating my work:
60 kwh (Smaller Model S battery)
29.7 kwh/day from 10,837 kwh/year

If you assume a 60 kwh battery will be retired to grid storage when it hits 70%, then recycled when it reaches ~40%, then assuming 50% average life remaining gives you ~30kwh to cover that ~29.7 kwh.

actual figures can vary wildly, of course. It might be 'worth it' to keep the pack even when it's only at 20% capacity. You might replace them when they reach 80%. But I figure that 30% degradation during EV use would be about the same time period as 30% degradation during fixed use, making battery durability not a significant factor so long as you're not losing batteries completely to failures too often.

Given the average of 2.28 vehicles per household..., you have enough for 1 day of homes if half of vehicles are electric, if 2 are(leaving ~12% of vehicles as something else) that should be enough to cover the commercial side as well, given that 37% of current electricity production is used by households, 34% commercial, 26% industrial. Some would be made up by batteries from pure commercial vehicles that don't belong to any household. Of course, if 88% of vehicles are electric that would significantly change electricity usage - my estimate was that the 2.28 vehicles would increase the average use of electricity by 50% going by averages for vehicles per household, miles driven per vehicle, miles per kwh, etc...

But I figure step 1 of any storage scheme would be to not charge EVs during a power shortage...

One note that I'm sure you'll love is that in a scenario where most of this electricity is generated with solar panels you'd logically want to charge all these EVs during the day as well. Would make for an interesting mechanic if it became a 'standard' benefit to provide charge for your employee's cars. I'm picturing solar car ports and shades...

2 days ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

Firethorn Re:Self Serving Story? (267 comments)

a currency with zero transaction fees.

Except that there are generally transaction fees unless you're willing to set up and maintain quite a bit of your own infrastructure.

As for the theft rate for credit cards, I'd note that it's mostly fraud, not theft. Only a slight distinction, but still there.

The thing to worry about is the rate of theft/fraud. As somebody who's aware of bitcoin but not invested in it, I have to point out that it's my impression that my money is more at risk if stored as bitcoins than as US Dollars invested in a bank. That's a real problem, real statistics aside.

2 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Firethorn Re:Checked my own state (264 comments)

The problem I see is that the wacko isn't likely to be calmed down by a robot, even with a person talking on a screen with it.

A tossed cell phone probably does as well as a really expensive robot. You just have the wacko exit the building/shelter without the weapon.

2 days ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

Firethorn Re:Self Serving Story? (267 comments)

I just don't agree with him. Bitcoins have some serious issues.

Indeed, I'd rate all the thefts of bitcoins to be killing it's credibility more than anything else. If it's seen as substantially less safe than traditional investments...

I might participate in the bitcoin market, but it'd be strictly transitional - buy bitcoins, use them to pay. I'd actually 'own' them for as short of a period as possible.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Re:Cheap grid storage (435 comments)

When I figured it out I came up with a day, but I don't remember all my estimates/assumptions. That's approaching 100% penetration though.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Averaged appliances (435 comments)

I'd argue that staggering appliances as described would be a form of storage anyways. For the most part we're talking about thermal storage here - hot water heaters, house temperature, etc...

It's quite possible to build a house that will remain comfortable with minimal power expenditure in most areas, but this is extremely expensive in terms of money and resources. A halfway point would be to use construction techniques involving having lots of mass inside the insulation to help maintain temperatures even while the HVAC system is offline. But at that point you're putting thermal storage systems into all the homes, even if it's dual purpose.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Firethorn Cheap grid storage (435 comments)

Keep saving those AA's. Your gonna need them.

Heh, I laughed at this because one of my ideas is to use old but still viable EV batteries as grid storage devices, and the Model S, with the biggest batteries, uses the Lithium-Ion equivalent of a AA.

If you figure that the battery is retired from the car at 70% capacity and kept as a grid device until it's around 40% capacity this would give you massive storage capacity if only 10% of people drive a Tesla type car.

Of course, this would be a 30 year solution - 5-10 years for the batteries to degrade to the point they're no longer useful in a car, plus 20 years for EVs to actually penetrate the market enough to provide enough batteries.

3 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Firethorn MULE designation (264 comments)

Except that I checked the NSN number and found that I was correct.

3 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Firethorn Update on the mule (264 comments)

Okay, had a brain fart - I look up the rifle by NSN, and forget to check the mule, merely guessing.

Well, it's a Kawasaki mule model KAF400A per the NSN*

Going by the state that I remember us operating them in, I'd guess that the thing was probably a non-functioning worn out POS by the time the military lets go of it.

*National Stock Number.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Firethorn Re:Checked my own state (264 comments)

Considering that any police department can purchase those firearms from almost any gun store, or off the internet using department letterhead if they want full-auto operation, I'm not too worried about those. I'm not going to say that an officer shouldn't have a patrol rifle or shotgun 'just in case'. $499 isn't much anyways. Looking it up, the NSN for the 7.62 rifle valued at $138 identifies it as an M-14. Most are probably shot to heck, but if you get one in good condition it can be a good pick for a designated marksman role.

The target designators might be weird but, they can also be used for spotting purposes - IE it can be used to point something out to a helicopter with the right equipment.

EOD bots? Again, not too worried, it's not like they're useful for oppressing civilian populations unless you're really creative, and it's something many departments should have if they're big enough to have a bomb unit. This ends up being most county and larger police departments due to the constant danger of idiot teens and pipe bombs. Same deal with a MRAP. It's not really useful for it's intended role, but if I was the police I'd use it as a rolling barricade if I have one or more people holed up in a building taking shots at my officers. It'd enable me to get people closer to the building, maybe even burst in if necessary.

One incident I remember where an armored vehicle would have been handy was were they had a shot officer bleeding out, but they couldn't get anybody there to rescue him because there was an active shooter with a rifle trying to kill anybody who tried. With an armored vehicle you pull it between the shooter and the person you're trying to rescue.

For mule - it might not be a M274 truck, but a Kawasaki 'Mule', IE a sort of ATV mini-truck. They're handy for tooling around on military bases.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Firethorn Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

Have you never bought something that it turned out that you didn't need? Amplify that to the scale the DoD operates on and you get some serious amounts of 'surplus'.

Add in that the military has to operate on the principal of being prepared, and thus have stocks in case of danger, it makes sense for durable goods to still be useful when declared surplus.

For example, rather than having eight types of truck around, cut it down to 2 and surplus the rest. Individual departments with ONE armored vehicle can worry about the parts it needs, and if it breaks down it's not normally that big of a deal. Meanwhile the Army has to worry about hundreds of them, and if they break down too often due to age it's just not worth it.

4 days ago
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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

Firethorn Re:Are there any reasons... (174 comments)

Oil changes might only add up to ~$150/year. Figuring dealer pricing for the other fluids, break pads, and such add up quick even if they're not routine.

5 days ago
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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

Firethorn Re:False Savings (97 comments)

Hawaii is pretty unique situation

Note that I mentioned that it's rampant in Hawaii, but only starting elsewhere. Hawaii is indeed pretty unique by combining high electricity costs via traditional means with near-ideal weather for solar systems.

5 days ago
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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

Firethorn Re:Is it really a problem? (97 comments)

That's not a citation of utilities suing people over solar power, much less successfully. It's not even a citation of laws preventing utilities from suing people over installing solar power, more preventing HOAs and such.

5 days ago
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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

Firethorn Re:Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds (97 comments)

I agree. It's far too political. Personally I've always favored a carbon tax as opposed to this 'cap and trade' stuff. Start at current and do a 'dutch auction' for carbon emissions. As such, those with the lowest economic gain from their emissions will exit the market first.

Allow some trading/credits for true sequestration initiatives, but I figure a tax would have the best effect. Implementation would still be complicated, especially in order to avoid the emissions from simply moving out of the area.

5 days ago
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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

Firethorn Re:False Savings (97 comments)

In the end, probably the only thing that will make huge differences is the reduced amount of Kw/Hrs of electricity used. Given the rise of electric cars, that seems speculative at best.

I once figured out that if you went with the averages for everything in the USA - miles driven, kwh per 100 miles, household electricity usage, number of vehicles per household, and everything else that if we went to 100% electric vehicle usage(getting a Tesla's mileage), each household would use 50% more electricity.

With the rampant spread of Solar in Hawaii and starting elsewhere I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an inversion in power rates where electricity at night becomes more expensive than during the day. Employment that allows you to charge your EV at work might be a big selling factor.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Firethorn (177587) writes "From Decatur Daily
Shut down 22 years ago in 1985, the Tennessee Valley Authority has reactivated Unit 1 at Browns Ferry Nuclear plant in response to rising demand for electricity in North Alabama. It's the first reactor activated since 1996.

It's expected to produce 1,155 megawatts, power 650,000 homes, and employ an extra 100 workers at the plant.

Renovations cost $1.8 Billion, but they expect the payback to be done within 4-5 years, down from the 7-8 years estimated in 2002, mostly because of increased fuel costs for the alternatives."

Journals

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

You know, I found a story on fark leading to a postive spin on Walmart. Of course, the thread had all sorts of entries on how bad/evil Walmart is. While I certainly don't agree with everything in the article, neither do I believe that Walmart is worse than the devil. It's of only average evilness for a large corporation.

One points brought up was the 'liveable wage'. While Walmart does indeed have one of the lower wage medians, it's a retail store. It's wages are in line with the other 'mart' stores, grocery stores, and their ilk. If anything, a lower median wage indicates that they aren't top heavy with too many managers. 90% of their workers are covered by health insurance - and not government plans.

Here in the USA we have a messed up view of what a 'liveable wage' is. It's part of why we've lost so much of our manufacturing - cheaper laber outside the USA.

I'd rather have them have a job that might not pay enough for them to get that 60" Plasma, own two cars, not to mention such 'essentials' as cable, high speed internet, a thousand+ computer, etc, than NO JOB.

Essentially, I feel that it'd be a better situation to have welfare set up so that people are always better off working than not working. They're also always better off working the better paid job than the lesser**. As part of that, I'd get rid of the minimum wage.

IE we declare the minimum living income to be X. Really bad standard of living, barely covers the basics. Everybody gets X.
Joe gets a job making Y. His welfare payments are adjusted such that he gets Y + (X-Y/3). I use a divisor of 3 because there are costs associated with working, and a /2 is a bit too quick. Let's say X is the Poverty line. We'll go with a family of 4. $21,200. Ouch. Still, let's say they get job/s earning $30k. They'd 'lose' 10k in benefits, still obtaining $11.2k in benies. They now have an effective income of $41.2k, which while not great, is better than sitting completely on welfare. Meanwhile the single guy would be looking at $10.4k, and that $30k job would leave him with $400 in benefits. He's still better off getting that pay raise, though. I'm firmly of the belief that somebody working and contributing is better than not working.

That would help with our outsourcing problem, while wages would drop, it would help make us competitive on the global workforce market again.

On another topic - U.S. homes lose $2 trillion in value in '08

Is this necessarily a bad thing? For a while there people were treating their homes as investments - well, a home IS an investment, but they were treating theirs like something they could buy then sell when their retired for enough money to retire on. Easy credit allowed people and speculators to buy far more home than they needed, or even could afford, putting a crunch on housing and raising prices to the point of unaffordability. Personally, I'd like to remain able to afford a decent home with a 30 year fixed, on no more than 30% of my income, not some fancy loan that I ultimately can't afford.

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 8 years ago

What with the flooding, I feel that New Orleans should be renamed to 'New Venice'. I have many thoughts on this.

For one, it's just stupid to build a standard city below sea level, on the coast, especially in an area subject to hurricanes.

My idea, since the area's natural tendency is to be flooded anyways, we go along with it and build like in venice. It'd remain a tourist attraction, and would be far more resistant to hurricanes with proper construction. My idea is floating homes. Tie them in location with rails so they stay level. Give then around 3-4 meters of travel. You could reduce this by actually artificially raising the level of water, then when a hurricane comes, pump the water out to keep it level. It's hard to flood an artificially raised lake. You break a levy, the water level drops.

Then instead of levees, you build tide breakers, to moderate the tide and any breakers. Build 'sacrifice buildings' closest to the gulf, that can be used to break the tide even further. Then large buildings that won't float, but sit on a solid foundation, will use their first floors for nothing critical, and reinforce the ocean side to withstand the hurricanes, at least better. They're also to protect the homes behind.

Great tourist attraction, unique, pretty much floodproof.

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Why do people keep calling me a republican?

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Disclaimer: This is intented to be a summery. There are all sorts of jinks and kinks in my beliefs. This is mearly a summery.

People keep calling me a republican on this board. If I am one, I must be an awfully strange one, seeing as how I'm pro choice, pro drug legalization, at least somewhat pro gay rights, and am an agnostic with atheist tendencies.

I believe in seperation of church and state, but I don't think that means that the state can supress people's freedom of religion. As in if a kid wants to read the bible or pray in school, they can (as long as it's not disruptive to class).

I think that school vouchers are a good idea. Private schools and parents have been doing more education with less than public schools for years.

I think that the government should run a balanced budget. I also think that the fairtax guys have a good idea, but that there are a number of kinks to work out.

The war on terror, war in Iraq? I think that we're taking the wrong direction at the airports. I think that all the violations of our rights are wrong. As for the war in Iraq, well, we're committed. We have to finish it, lest it turn into another Afghanistan. I can only hope the upcoming elections go reasonably well.

I am a strong supporter of the first amendment. I feel that if I'm not uncomfortable with at least some of what is being said, speech isn't free enough.

I am also a strong supporter of the second amendment. And yes, I believe that that covers machine guns. NBC weapons are a bit much even for me however. If it's not something that a single soldier can be expected to haul and use somewhat discriminatorily, it's not a personal arm.

I think that it's a major crime that the government can confiscate property without trial.

I think that our government spends too much money on various welfare and pork barrel projects. If we must have welfare, I think that people should have to work for it.

I'm a libertarion, not a republican.

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First Entry...

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Well, I usually mess something up in my posts, so if something seems odd, it might just be.

I'm certainly not average.
I'm pro-choice... And Pro-Death penalty
I'm for a strong military...but I'd let gays join
I'm for closing the border...but I'd let legal immigration be easy.
I'm for legalizing drugs...And serious prison time for DUI's.
I consider myself for a clean enviroment...but I'd do this closing all hydrocarbon powerplants and replacing them with nuclear.
I'm a strict constitutionalist.
I believe that if we must engage in war, we should wage it offensivly. Under modern technology, offense is what wins battles.
I'd eliminate welfare and the minimum wage, replacing it with a 'work-fare' program, where you have to work at something for forty hours a week (even if only picking trash up from the side of the road). Benefits would be mostly concrete, not cash. You'd eat at a dining facility, live in a provided apartment, etc...

I certainly have other views, but this should cover most of the issues.

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