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Comments

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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Smidge204 Re:Cry Me A River (608 comments)

Normal humans are excluded from a lot of things.

1. Olympic Gold Medal
2. 5x Jeopardy Champion
3. Professional Concert Pianist
4. Bolshoi Ballet
5. Supermodel

Our technologically advanced society will not fall into ruin if nobody ever becomes a 5-time Jeopardy Champion ever gain...

On the other hand, guru-level engineers are considerably more important.
=Smidge=

about three weeks ago
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Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

Smidge204 Re:How about a sign (579 comments)

For traffic lights that are really long, and I'm familiar with, I will often turn my engine off since I know I'm going to be going nowhere for >1min. The timer on the crosswalk sign gives me plenty of warning so I can start the engine and be ready to go.

Of course, this is hardly any different from just looking at the traffic light for the opposing direction - most of the time you can see it change to yellow, then red, and you know a few beats later your way will turn green. Drive the same route for more than a few days (e.g. your typical commute) and nearly anyone will know how the lights behave throughout the day and be able to predict them.
=Smidge=

about a month ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Smidge204 Re:No Question the Drive is His, No 5th Amend. Iss (560 comments)

Even if the hard drive isn't yours, or it hasn't been established that it's yours, if they know you have the password for whatever reason they can compel you to give it up. Failure to do so would at least be obstruction, or perhaps as bad as aiding and abetting.

Provided they also have probable cause to think there's evidence on that device of course.
=Smidge=

about a month ago
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Continuous System For Converting Waste Plastics Into Crude Oil

Smidge204 Re:Ocean garbage patches? (139 comments)

Plus, you'd scoop up a lot more oceanic plant and animal life trying to extract that plastic material.

Actually, the critters might be a better fuel source than the plastics...
=Smidge=

about a month ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Smidge204 Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

In a perfect world, there would be no primaries at all because there would be no rigidly defined political parties as such... but I suppose it really is too much to ask that a candidate be considered on the weight of his individual ideas and actions rather than a postfix next to his name on a ballot.

But the next best thing would be to have each party solely responsible for nominating their own candidates, without outside influence. At least in that respect we could get someone who best represents their party, rather than the WORST representative.

Campaign financing is a whole other ball of wax...
=Smidge=

about a month and a half ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Smidge204 Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

Voters end up with the exact same number of choices in the general election: two.

Not really, no. There is almost always more than two candidates for any particular office. The only exceptions I've personally encountered were lesser thought about elected officials like judges and public works.

But I think the parent's comment about "fewer choices" still applies: You are choosing the least bad instead of the best, so the real choice is diminished. Giant douche, or turd sandwich?
=Smidge=

about a month and a half ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Smidge204 Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

It's a primary election, not a general election. Nobody is being elected into power here. The primary election is only to choose who the candidate will be that will run for office for that particular party.

If you want your political party to win, and you have open primaries, to group together to force the opponent party to select the LEAST desirable candidate, thus increasing your own candidate's chance of winning.

That's not democracy, that's gaming the system - and we all lose in the race to the bottom.
=Smidge=

about a month and a half ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Smidge204 Re:remove limited liability from owners (307 comments)

Why not? You benefit from that partial ownership, you should share in the responsibility proportionally.

Having thousands of owners screaming at you, as well as being financially culpable, would be good cause for the people in charge to actually be careful about what they do.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Smidge204 Re:Eliminates all jobs earning less than 15 USD/ho (1040 comments)

Not true. If every restaurant closed their doors, people would cook their own food. If every landscaping company folded, people would mow their own lawns.

Hahahaha... oh wow.

Yeah, assuming that everyone is willing any able to do their own cooking and yardwork (Ha!) who's going to do property maintenance for non-residential properties? Going to take turns at the office to see who's turn it is to trim the hedges that week?
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Smidge204 Re:Eliminates all jobs earning less than 15 USD/ho (1040 comments)

I think you're reading a bit too deeply into the words and missing the overall point... there are jobs that need to be done regardless of their cost.

Fine, bagging groceries is a poor example. What about janitorial work? Someone needs to do the basic maintenance of a public or commercial building.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Smidge204 Re:Eliminates all jobs earning less than 15 USD/ho (1040 comments)

Imagine the minimum wage is $100/hour. There's a massive number of job which simply do not produce that much wealth per hour - they cannot exist, because to offer that job to someone is to lose money. All those jobs disappear.

Setting aside the stupidity of $100/hr minimum wage... (I mean, why not $1,000,000/hr right?)

The jobs that people do for under $15/hr still need to be done. Not every job produces wealth. Nobody gets rich by having clean floors, or mowed lawns, or bagged groceries. However, these are examples of tasks that arguable have to be done by someone, and the cost of not having them done can, at least in some cases, be argued to be greater than $15/hr.

The same applies to jobs that "do not produce that much wealth" - they still need to be done. Either you pay someone $15/hr to flip burgers, or you stop selling burgers and go out of business. Don't want to go out of business? Pay the $15/hr and increase your prices by the ten cents or whatever it averages out to be. What a goddamn stupid argument you're making.

I'd rather pay an extra buck for a trip to the local fast food place than have my tax dollars end up subsidizing the employees through food stamps and housing because they're barely paid enough to afford the same food they cook all day.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Smidge204 Re:Even higher! (1040 comments)

The way to implement the experiment is to abolish the minimum wage entirely, and then leave it abolished since it will achieve the natural price for labor value.

We already tried slavery, feudalism, indentured servitude, company towns/stores, debt bondage, wage slavery... these are the labor systems that arise when you don't enforce paying laborers enough to keep them independent of their employer... aka "a living wage."

Maybe the problem is you don't understand what "living wage" really means.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

Smidge204 Re:Raise the Price (462 comments)

The Volt's drivetrain, for example, reportedly costs about $6k per vehicle. Why? It's a heck of a lot simpler than a gasoline drivetrain, with a tenth as many moving parts and less raw materials costs.

This statement makes no sense in light of the fact that the Volt's drivetrain includes a four cylinder gasoline engine.

I'm not convinced it's simpler in the transmission either. You still have three clutches, a planetery and a differential.

And yes, the engine can and will provide mechanical power directly to wheels

if conditions are right.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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It's Time For the Descent Games Return

Smidge204 Re:Along with the 3x speed strafe bug? (251 comments)

It's a GAME, and every time someone pulls the reality card on an unintended gameplay mechanic

It's not unintended, that's the point.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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It's Time For the Descent Games Return

Smidge204 Re:Along with the 3x speed strafe bug? (251 comments)

That's not a bug - that's how physics actually works.

Your walking speed is limited no matter what direction to go since you only have one pair of legs. But in a space ship, the thrusters add up using typical vector addition... in all three dimensions.

It was literally a feature, and a good one! The most unrealistic thing about it was only that the top speed was limited, which makes no sense for a spacecraft in a vacuum.

I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere, 'cause real free-floating 3D with proper conservation of momentum would be a real pain in the ass.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Smidge204 Re:Neither of the above, it will be CNG (659 comments)

Cars will be fueled next on Compressed Natural Gas. Why? Because there is a cheaper option that doesn't weigh a lot or take up lots of space.

CNG tanks are huge compared to gasoline tanks for an equivalent amount of fuel. Consider the latest and greatest carbon fiber wrapped, nonmetallic tank: 20 gasoline gallon equivalent capacity at 3600 PSIG.

Weight: ~100 lbs empty, ~210 lbs full.
Dimensions: 60 inches long, 21 inches diameter.
Cost: ~$3600

CNG is not a serious contender for the personal automotive market... and I'm making this argument as someone who designs and builds CNG fueling stations.

Trucking is another matter, since trucks have the space and weight capacity - and the high cost and long service life to distribute that cost - to make it worthwhile.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Smidge204 Re:Electric. (659 comments)

The use case where that is true is narrow...

Not really, no. The use case covers 70%+ of US commuters.

I did the math back in 2012 when the LEAF was just getting into the swing of things, using my own ~40mi/day round trip commute since I was curious if a LEAF (or any other EV) would be right for me. The LEAF narrowly beat out a 2012 Prius with comparable trim level, and that was at ~$3.50/gallon for gas and $0.22/kWh electric. (For reference, last time I got gas I paid $3.899.) On top of that, Nissan has also been pushing some very competitive lease rates ($199/mo) which puts it on par with most new vehicles right from the start.

Even with my new 20mi/day commute since then, I'd save enough just in fuel to cover about two lease payments per year (~$430) versus my current fuel usage, or about half that versus a Prius.
=Smidge=

about 2 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Smidge204 Re:Why not Zoidberg? I mean both. (659 comments)

All hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are essentially H2-electric hybrids. Not only because a fuel cell produces electricity, but because HFCVs also incorporate sizable batteries.

A fuel cell can't be readily throttled, and making one that's powerful enough for acceleration demands is expensive and space consuming. A battery is used for peak power demands and to buffer the fuel cell so it can operate at a more consistent, more optimal output. As a bonus, the battery also allows for regenerative braking.
=Smidge=

about 3 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Smidge204 Re:Electric. (659 comments)

While the sticker price may be higher for an EV, if you lease the total cost can actually be less. Not saying an EV will pay for itself overall, but the savings in fuel even over a Prius is enough to knock down monthly cost of ownership and make up the difference in lease payments.

People shouldn't compare price, they should compare cost.
=Smidge=

about 3 months ago

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Journals

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More info from Nissan LEAF Tour

Smidge204 Smidge204 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nissan's national tour of their new electric vehicle offering, the LEAF, recently completed its last stop at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. Nissan representatives were on hand answering questions about the car and their plans to bring it to market, and I was able to collect a lot of good information which the Slashdot community might find interesting and useful. Below is a fact-dense summary of everything I was able to tease out of them.

The LEAF is a 5 passenger, 4-door hatchback bearing a striking resemblance to the currently available Versa, although once you see it in person it becomes obvious that the car is an entirely new platform designed specifically as an electric car, rather than a tweak of an existing vehicle. First impressions, shared by other visitors I met, was the vehicle was much bigger than the phrase "electric car" brings to mind.

The LEAF's technical specifications are no less impressive, though still somewhat tentative as production is not scheduled to begin until this fall:

80kW (107.3 HP) synchronous AC motor producing 380 ft-lbs (280Nm) torque. 24kWh worth of air-cooled, modular (48 modules, 192 cells total), laminated lithium-magnesium batteries located under the floor and rear seats giving a listed driving range of 100 miles (as tested under LA4 methods, aka "the city test") and a max speed of over 90MPH (144KPH). Curb weight is approximately 3300 pounds (1500 kg) including the 480 pound (217 kg) main battery pack. The main battery is rated for full capacity from -30ÂF to +100ÂF (-34ÂC to +38ÂC) and has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years, with "end of life" defined as capacity degraded to 70% of the original. The LEAF comes with four wheel disc brakes and two stage regenerative braking which can recover up to 30% of the vehicle's kinetic energy in most situations. Brakes are hydraulic (w/ electric booster) and steering is drive-by-wire. A cable operated parking brake is also included.

Power from the main battery is cut in the event of an accident for safety. It is not known if a separate kill switch for disconnecting the battery manually will be provided.

The LEAF is capable of three charging options: it comes standard with a 110v outlet charging cord, allowing you to plug your car into any 15 amp outlet for charging via the charger incorporated into the vehicle itself. Charge time for 0% to 100% is estimated at 16 hours using 110v. Alternatively, you can charge the car using 208v using a required "charging station" in about 8 hours from 0% to 100%. Both of these methods use the same J1772 socket, recently made a standard by SAE International, meaning this and all other vehicles that plug in to charge will use the same connectors.

The 208v "charging station" is, I was told, simply a surge protector and over-current protection device which must be professionally installed and certified for code compliance and liability issues. While Nissan plans to offer Nissan-brand charging stations, you will not be obligated to buy one as the 110v charging cord is supplied with the car. Charging stations may also become available from third party manufacturers since they do not contain anything proprietary, and like the J1772 connector should be compatible with any plug-in car on the market.

The third "quick charge" option uses 480v connection through a second, dedicated socket and connector and can charge a dead battery to 80% in just under 30 minutes. Quick charging is halted at 80% to prevent damage to the battery. There are no plans to offer quick charging stations to the general public since very few houses have 480v electric service available. Nissan is working with private companies to install both 208v and 480v public charging stations for general use.

The LEAF includes, as standard equipment, an integrated GPS navigation system which helps you plan routes that pass near by public charging stations. Monthly updates to the navigation system will be provided for free. Also included is 3G communications which allow the on-board computer to send and receive data via the internet. The computer can be configured to send e-mail status updates, and various features such as charging schedules and heat/air conditioning operation can be done remotely via internet connected PC or cell phone. When asked about privacy concerns, the reps said that Nissan plans to collect usage data via an opt-in program only from their initial test users. There are no long-term plans to monitor driving and charging habits.

Other standard features include heated seats and steering wheel, air conditioning, power locks and windows, AM-FM/CD stereo with aux input for portable players, keyless entry/startup and 24/7 roadside assistance. All vehicle lights are LED. Features that are not offered include power seats, sun roof and spare tire.

The "ignition" is a large power button located just below and to the right of the steering column. The rep said there is no delay turning off - meaning you don't have to hold the button - but she never tried it "at speed" so it is unclear exactly what will happen if you turn the vehicle off while driving.

There is no set price yet, but I was given a target range of $28,000 to $33,000 before rebates and incentives. Official pricing is due to be announced in April. At present, the LEAF qualifies for $7,500 in federal tax rebates, along with 50% of the install cost for the 208v charging station (up to $4,000). Additional rebates and incentives may be available from your state government as well. Nissan plans to offer buy and lease options, but they can not offer battery-only leases due to federal laws. The federal government considers the battery to be part of the drive train, and it is illegal to sell a car without a functioning drive train.

Production is scheduled to start in Japan this fall, with a portion of those vehicles being imported to the US for test markets and early adopters. Official announcements are scheduled for December of this year. By 2012 Nissan plans to have a vehicle and battery manufacturing plant operating in Tennessee with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs per year.

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