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Volcanic Eruption In Japan Disrupts Flights

MtViewGuy Mount Aso is more dangerous than many think. (24 comments)

I think people forget that the Mount Aso volcanic caldera is NOT small, and there is the constant threat of a major eruption there. There is a chance--though small--that Mount Aso could erupt with the force and volcanic ash output of Mount Pinatubo in 1991--a scale of eruption that could seriously affect the Japanese economy and could even substantially cool the Earth like what Pinatubo's huge ash output did.

about three weeks ago
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France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

MtViewGuy Re:The French (395 comments)

The problem with diesel engines is simple: it's ungodly expensive to make a diesel engine just as clean as a gasoline engine. For example, the Daimler-Benz "BlueTec" system that uses common-rail direct fuel injection, a sophisticated particulate filter, and urea gas injection into the exhaust stream to break down the NOx gases for easier catalytic converter removal costs a lot of money per car, to say the least.

Besides, with battery technology rapidly improving, we may soon have 400 to 500 km per charge range electric cars without the need for a big an heavy battery pack, which means electric vehicles are now very viable for commuter cars.

about three weeks ago
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Windows 8 and 8.1 Pass 15% Market Share, Windows XP Drops Below 20% Mark

MtViewGuy Re:Home vs Corporate (192 comments)

I think because Windows 10 defaults to the Desktop UI on laptop and desktop computers, it is the true successor to Windows 7 in the corporate world. Indeed, I expect Windows 10 to cause a major uptick in PC sales because people familiar with Windows 7 and earlier could pick up Windows 10 a lot faster.

about a month and a half ago
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Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

MtViewGuy Re:Wait, this wasn't common knowledge already? (764 comments)

I think pretty much everyone who knew Cook at the time he was hired at Apple 16 years ago knew of his sexual preference. Indeed, today's announcement ended the "open secret" of his personal life that was pretty much known to everyone in Silicon Valley and the financial community that regularly dealt with him since the late 1990's.

As such, it should just be a "yawn," but alas, all those Internet trolls showed up and turned it into something where we can't have a civil discourse. (shaking head)

about a month and a half ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

MtViewGuy Re:Are you kidding? (631 comments)

The QR code scanning is why this idea will completely fail. Not only will you be completely dependent on the cellphone camera doing a proper capture of the QR code (good luck with that!), but QR codes are easily hacked, as Alibaba found out the hard way with Alipay, which the Chinese government shut down.

about 2 months ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

MtViewGuy Re:Why CurrentC will fail miserably (631 comments)

Personally, I think CurrentC may never make it out of test stage for the following reasons:

1. It requires you to supply driver's license, Social Security number, and bank account information to store on CurrentC servers "in the cloud." Given the problems with iCloud lately, no thank you!

2. The use of optical QR codes is a BAD idea. People forget QR codes can be hacked rather easily, as Alibaba found out the hard way when it was tried with Alipay.

3. The process of paying using CurrentC is unnecessarily complex compared to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Softcard's NFC solutions, which could make it very easy to make a mistake and the payment may not go through under CurrentC.

4. Given the problems mentioned above, there's a good chance banks and credit unions may NOT allow savings and checking accounts to be linked to CurrentC. And that will end the project almost immediately.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Now Makes Money From Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion

MtViewGuy Re:The corporate sector is where it will sell (117 comments)

Just wait until the Surface Pro 3 gets updated to Windows 10 by this time next year. Suddenly, the Surface Pro 3 (or whatever successor is on the market by October 2015) will be a hot-selling item for corporate users.

about 2 months ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

MtViewGuy Re:Nothing really new (720 comments)

What you saw is very common at "kaiten sushi" restaurants in Japan. In many parts of Tokyo, those "kaiten sushi" restaurants use touchscreen terminals for ordering that not only display in Japanese, but English, Chinese and Korean, too.

about 2 months ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

MtViewGuy Re:Nothing really new (720 comments)

That's why in Japan, NFC payment systems work more like prepaid cards--for example, you have to load an amount of money into your Rakuten Edy account before you can use it to make NFC payments through the Osaifu-Keitai system (Rakuten Edy is accepted at most convenience stores in Japan). This isn't like Apple Pay, where payments are directly from your credit or debit card account.

about 2 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

MtViewGuy Re:Unfortunately this new knowledge won't help mos (422 comments)

Having spent several thousand dollars in co-pay for dental work in my lifetime, this is why I don't drink sodas anymore--the carbonation in the soda actually accentuates the highly corrosive quality of the sugar in the carbonated drink. That's why I drink mostly iced tea nowadays on hot summer days.

about a month ago
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The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

MtViewGuy Females weren't considered at the time.... (200 comments)

....Because none of them had the type of test pilot experience necessary for the Mercury program in the USA or the Vostok program in the Soviet Union..

We forget that at the time of the start of manned flights in 1961, it was an extreme unknown on how well an astronaut would handle a spacecraft in Earth orbit. As such, both the Americans and Russians chose trained test pilots, who had the ability to calmly handle any dangerous situation during a test flight. And in those days, only men met that qualification. It wasn't until the middle 1970's that both the Americans and Russians--based on their spaceflight experience--finally figured out how to choose females to become astronauts/cosmonauts on something besides a publicity stunt.

about a month ago
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Solar Could Lead In Power Production By 2050

MtViewGuy Depends on what region in the world, though. (167 comments)

I think areas highly suited for solar power generation--southwestern USA, around the Mediterranean Sea, much of the Middle East, and much of Australia--will be the areas where rooftop solar panels and large-scale solar power plants start to dominate in terms of power generation. Mind you, they may be competing against future forms of nuclear power, especially if the technology for molten-salt nuclear reactors fueled by thorium-232 dissolved in molten fluoride salts become practical.

about 3 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

MtViewGuy Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (488 comments)

Sendai--because it has littler precipitation in winter--is one of the better locations for a solar power plant. But any further north--such as from Morioka north to Aomori--you start getting in a lot of winter snow, and that is a huge impediment to efficient solar power operations. The Sea of Japan side from Kanazawa to the Tsugaru region is not that great, either, given you can get huge snowfalls in winter.

In short, the complex geography of Japan makes solar power not so great, especially with areas of intense winter snows. But western Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu are perfect for solar power on a truly large scale.

about 3 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

MtViewGuy Re:They're Against More Than That (488 comments)

The only thing is that we may start to see a trend of going away from burning coal to generate electricity--the air pollution problems from coal burning will end this practice in the next 50-70 years. What will likely happen is in the short to medium term, we'll see a switch to burning natural gas (which has a tiny fraction of the air pollution and is cheap to install emission controls) and in the longer term eventually switch to a new generation of nuclear power plants that are extremely safe to run and use commonly-found thorium-232 as nuclear fuel (India and China are building test reactors to see if they can scale up what physicist Alvin Weinberg achieved in the 1960's at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; if it works, we could have enough electric power generation to last _tens_ of thousands of years).

There will be a place for solar power, but only in areas of the world where there are enough sunny days to justify its use; the southwestern USA (including California) is one such place.

about 3 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

MtViewGuy Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (488 comments)

I agree that's true--if you live in the part of the world where there is enough sunny days to justify its initial expense. The southwestern USA--including California--belongs in this category, along with areas around the Mediterranean Sea, much of the Middle East, and several other places.

In other parts of the world, long, cold winters and/or long rainy seasons could cut down on its usefulness. Indeed, in Japan, only the western half of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu have enough sunny days to justify large-scale rooftop solar installations.

about 3 months ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

MtViewGuy Re:Or they will simply get it banned or restricted (517 comments)

You mean "used to be cheap dirty coal." Ever since the EPA required the use of extensive exhaust emission controls to cut soot and sulfur emissions, you no longer get the infamous "acid rain" cause by sulfur dioxide gas blown downwind of the coal-fired power plant here in the USA and there are very little soot issues from burning coal. Of course, it does help that many utilities switched to vastly cleaner-burning coal from Wyoming's Powder River region in the last 40 years.

about 3 months ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

MtViewGuy Solar power only viable in certain areas, though. (517 comments)

Despite what some supporters think, solar power in order to be really viable have to be located in parts of the world where there are a lot of sunny days. For example, the southwestern USA has some of the best daylight conditions in the world for solar power--and the same can be said for southern Europe. Indeed, the country of Greece should have rooftop solar power everywhere, given the number of sunny days in that part of the world.

Here in California, rooftop solar power has really taken off because there are enough sunny days to justify the cost of installation. Imagine generating 15 to 30 kW of power during daytime--more than enough to run a single-family home, including air conditioning.

about 3 months ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

MtViewGuy Re:Go (274 comments)

The basic rules of Go is actually quite simple. Expanding that to a 19 x 19 board is really, really hard to do--some say Go requires more intelligence to play than chess.

about 4 months ago
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Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

MtViewGuy Re:People hear "Windows 8" and run away (336 comments)

However, Microsoft recently showed a screenshot of a future version of Windows where the desktop UI is emphasized more again on desktop and most laptop computers. That could be a preview of Windows 9, likely coming fall 2015--a total redesign of Windows that corrects most of the UI deficiencies of Windows 8.x versions.

about 4 months ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

MtViewGuy Re:Trains sound like a good idea. (84 comments)

Actually, the technology is just about there for no-driver subway and commuter rail trains. Japan could probably start implementing this on their subway systems probably within a decade (they're already doing this on monorails and automated guideway transit systems).

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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MtViewGuy MtViewGuy writes  |  more than 8 years ago

MtViewGuy writes "Honda's R&D subsidiary, working with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), has finally developed a practical process for making ethanol from plant cellulose on a large scale. This is a huge breakthrough because by being to utilize the entire plant to make ethanol, you don't need to grow high-sugar plants such as corn, soybeans, sugar cane or sugar beets on a large scale; indeed, agricultural waste becomes a huge ethanol source.

This could mean a huge leap upward in ethanol production, tremendously expanding the usefulness of the world's oil supply since motor fuels can be mixed with small amounts of ethanol to "extend" the amount of fuel available. The press release from Honda is located here: http://world.honda.com/news/2006/c060914EthanolFro mCellulosicBiomass/"

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