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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

bitingduck Re:Prior Art? (126 comments)

The patent linked in TFA shows a filing date of 2009. Unless I'm missing something.

about three weeks ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

bitingduck Re:Brake Pedal (262 comments)

Prius is a slug when it comes to acceleration. IIRC, the Prius V does 0-60 in in about 10.7 seconds, and that's empty. When I test drove one it felt like a slug going over a tiny bump of a hill. I live at the top of a big hill, and wanted a small wagon that I can put a lot of stuff in and carry bikes on top. Add that stuff to a V, and it's not going anywhere. I got a Cmax, and it's very well behaved-- I don't drive slow and I get 41 mpg combined without adjusting my driving style. Take your foot off the accelerator in the Cmax and it coasts along fine. If you put your foot back on, you can maintain speed in EV mode for several miles before the ICE kicks back in-- it has a larger battery than the Prius and with the current software will EV at up to 85 mph.

about three weeks ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

bitingduck Re:Brake Pedal (262 comments)

I have a C-max, which has the same drivetrain as the fusion. My understanding is that when it uses engine braking it basically fans the engine, using the pistons to drive air through, but doesn't run fuel. I think it only does this with the "hill assist" mode (on the side of the shifter) engaged, though it could be slightly different on the Fusion.

I agree that they did a nice job of making it behave like you expect from decades of drive ICE cars. They made the hybrid interface relatively non-distracting, and gave it enough power that you can accelerate when you need it. The general UI is also what you expect after decades of driving, unlike the Prius.

about three weeks ago
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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

bitingduck Prior Art? (126 comments)

Was it really not filed until 2009? Isn't there more than 10 years of prior art on this?

I can probably dig up more than a few sites that had episodic content accessible by predetermined URLs that long predated the filing. Probably from enough different content providers to declare it obvious (in the patent sense) as well.

about three weeks ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

bitingduck Re: Return to very old models? (279 comments)

It was even true in the 60's and 70's-- Bell Labs funded an enormous amount of fundamental research with the money raked in by their monopoly. The cosmic microwave background (which really still has not practical value) was discovered by Bell Labs researchers. As they shut down the research they went on to populate a lot of university physics departments. IBM also funded a great deal of basic research. Xerox funded a lot of more practical stuff, but was terrible at commercializing it. Jobs at those places were at least as desirable for researchers in the 60's and 70's as faculty jobs.

about a month ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

bitingduck Re:What they're really afraid of, I think... (279 comments)

Take the Fourier transform for instance -- once upon a time, it would have been considered pure math, but today, DSP wouldn't exist without it. To focus only on those that *we* think are utilitarian can be extremely myopic, not to mention downright arrogant.

The Fourier transform was a direct result of the desire to better understand heat transfer while boring cannons. You should pick a better example, though they can be hard to find. Most discoveries seem to come from an itch that needs to be scratched.

about a month ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

bitingduck Re:Not so simple (357 comments)

USA Cycling did the same thing back in the 90's with the "Superbike" for the '96 olympics and spent a ton of money on machines and got very little bang for the buck. Somebody still has to pedal it...

about 2 months ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

bitingduck Re:Not so simple (357 comments)

FWIW, the reality for most of cycling (i.e. most geared racing), most racers are equipped with 10 or 11 gears on the back, and 2 in front, and nearly everyone in a race will have the same set of gears. Even then, there will be variations in what gears the riders will choose to put on the front (sometimes compact vs. standard, but also larger or smaller chainrings), and occasionally in back (pyrenees vs. alps). And once you get to a reasonably high level, all bicycles can be made to be below the minimum allowed weight (6.8 kg) and riders actually have to add weight to make their machines race legal. Again, this puts smaller riders at a disadvantage because the machine is a larger fraction of the ride+machine weight, and machines for smaller riders would normally weigh less than those for larger riders.

The weight minimum is probably a bigger issue in track racing, where the minimum weight is the same, but the amount of stuff on the bike is much less-- only one gear in front and back, no freehub, no derailleurs, no shifters, no brakes. I'm not small and not a weight weenie, and have had to add weight to bikes to make weight. I know small women who had to drop lengths of chain down their seat tube to get their bikes up to the minimum.

about 2 months ago
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'The Color Run' Violates Agreement With College Photographer, Then Sues Him

bitingduck Re:Logic (218 comments)

What's shameful is that I didn't even notice how blatant it was until it was pointed out on another TV show.

I've seen it even worse in Burn Notice-- something like "If you're going to ditch someone chasing you in a pursuit, you need a car with a lot of acceleration, quick handling, and great braking. That means something like the [make][model] is ideal". Followed by what amounts to a car commercial of a chase, with lots of logo shots.

about 2 months ago
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How the Black Hole Firewall Paradox Was Resolved

bitingduck Re:I always thought... (118 comments)

The universe probably finds some convenient way to force things to reasonable values. The density going to zero was just an example of a particular case. And quantum gravitation? Show me before you tell me where it kicks in. The universe is going to do what it's going to do, and it's generally well behaved, despite what happens where theories break down.

about 2 months ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

bitingduck Re:numbers? (357 comments)

And how much of that is due to the elevation difference between SLC (~1288 m) and Sochi (near sea level). I'm too lazy to do the math for all of them, but based on my experience in cycling at sea level vs. 1500 m, those look like substantially attributable to the elevation. Add in differences in ice quality, and you might have all the difference. A more appropriate comparison is to look at how they've been doing against all their international competition over the past year, looking at performances at the same venue on the same day, and extrapolating.

This article: why higher elevation is better even points out that the final training for the US team was done at elevation. Training at sea level and using hypoxic tents at night might have been a better idea.

about 2 months ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

bitingduck Re:Not so simple (357 comments)

For instance, in cycling one major decision is which gears you put on your bike for a given race. Some people are better with bigger gears, and some smaller gears. Forcing everyone to use the same ones would put people at a disadvantage.

This isn't a problem: just give them all a multi-speed bike that has ALL the gears. The only reason you'd only put some gears on a bike for a given race is because you're trying to eliminate extra weight and streamline the bike for the conditions it'll see in that race (you're trying to optimize it). If everyone has the exact same bike, this isn't necessary. No, this bike won't be as optimal for any one person as a custom-built (and -geared) bike, but it'll have all the gearings that any of the athletes might want, and eliminate the machinery as a competitive advantage

And the machines still make it unfair- if you homogenize the machines to that extent then you end up homogenizing the people who can be competitive, as well. Staying with your example, small cyclists tend to have high power to weight, but low overall power, so it makes them more suited to climbing. Putting them on bikes with "all the possible gears" at the expense of weight means that the machine is a larger fraction of the rider+weight than for larger cyclists, thus using the machine to take away some of their real physical advantage. Even racing in a very controlled environment (i.e. a velodrome, where it's essentially dead flat), where riders are allowed to choose any gear they want (but only one gear), riders in a given race will choose different gears depending on their riding and racing style (spin vs mash, breakaway for laps vs. sit in and sprint). Sticking everyone in the same gear will likely put some of them at a disadvantage (which is intentionally done in junior racing, for both physical and fairness reasons).

about 2 months ago
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How the Black Hole Firewall Paradox Was Resolved

bitingduck Re:I always thought... (118 comments)

AFAIK it is however conjectured that naked singularities cannot actually form (what is AFAIR definitely proved is that you cannot turn a black hole into a naked singularity).

There are singularities all over physics, even in something as simple as the velocity field of a classical vortex (v ~ 1/r). The world doesn't go all goofy at them-- the universe tends to take care of them in relatively convenient and pedestrian ways, like by sending the density to zero where the velocity goes to infinity. It's all fun to be a theorist talking about naked singularities (probably as close to naked anything as many of them get...) but if someone figures out a way to actually observe what's going on there, it will probably be interesting but probably won't be anything particularly magical.

about 2 months ago
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First US Public Library With No Paper Books Opens In Texas

bitingduck Re:the Internet is a better source? (212 comments)

Once you have standardized page size and other challenges inherent with POD, you might as well just be downloading an e-book. Cost may be an issue for e-readers today, but you already can get some pretty damn cheap e-readers if you are willing to buy something other than the big name brands. So if you are talking about the future of books, not just trends over the next 5-10 years, it is most likely going to be incredibly cheap color e-ink tablets that most books are read from.

No one knows the future for sure, so perhaps POD will have its place, but I find it doubtful.

Most POD systems are capable of producing all standard sizes up to 8.5x11 as a normal part of the process. It's on the order of a penny per page, plus a little under a buck for the cover, depending on who does your POD. A good deal of backlist titles are produced via POD in order to avoid large print runs while still keeping titles in print. Commercial POD is actually at a point where it's cheaper to print and ship a galley of a book to use for editing or review than it is to print it as a "manuscript" with a desktop laser printer.

about 3 months ago
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Ford Will Demo Solar-Charged Car At CES

bitingduck Re:How wonderful (179 comments)

The 1366 W/m^2 (plus or minus a bit) is the instantaneous incoming radiant power density on a surface at 1 AU, not the insolation. There's no accounting for day/night in it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_constant )

The insolation is the time integral of that, and does account for the day night cycle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation )

about 3 months ago
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Ford Will Demo Solar-Charged Car At CES

bitingduck Re:Depends on how long your commute is (179 comments)

If you drive to work in LA where it takes more than an hour to get to or from work, you'd want to plug in.

Why would you need to charge if after driving 2 miles?

You think you're joking...

I have to drive to work (about 35 miles each way) temporarily in LA, and it's about 1.5 hours there, 1.5 to 2 hours home. I just got a Cmax hybrid (with the little battery, not the Energi) and because I live in the San Gabriel Valley I can almost EV all the way to DTLA (it's all downhill) and get there with a full charge. It can easily take 45 minutes to an hour to do the ~10 miles or so to get to and through DTLA. After that it's much quicker. The gas motor runs on the way home though.

My regular commute, when I get back to it, is 4.5 miles each way on a bike.

about 3 months ago
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Ford Will Demo Solar-Charged Car At CES

bitingduck Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (179 comments)

Most people who buy hybrids do it so they can drive solo in the commuter lane, so I expect this car will spend its entire life running off its gasoline backup engine.

That expired in California a few years ago. Now you have to have a full electric to drive solo in the carpool lane, or pay a few bucks via transponder if you're on one of the roads that allows that.

about 3 months ago
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Ford Will Demo Solar-Charged Car At CES

bitingduck Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (179 comments)

Other than the no-plug aspect, why even bother with this? Instead, make a carport or pole barn, plop some solar panels on that, connect those to an inverter or charge controller, and plug that into the vehicle. It would gain more electricity overall that can be used for the vehicle compared to a Frenel lens series, and it won't fry the cat when he or she plops down by the car for an afternoon nap and the sunbeam shifts, or the vehicle moves back and Pirelli processes Fluffy.

I have a colleague who has two electric cars (a Leaf and a RAV 4) and does this with the solar panels on his roof. The Fresnel lens saves a little conversion loss, but at a reduction of system availability for power production as well.

about 3 months ago
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FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Now At the Library of Congress

bitingduck left hand didn't know? (102 comments)

It could easily be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

In the Reynolds case that established the state secrets privilege of the executive branch, the government fought hard to not disclose the accident reports that the widows of civilian contractors were trying to obtain to show that the government had been negligent in maintenance of the aircraft and that they should therefore receive substantial awards. The case started in 1949, and ran into 1953 before it was finally closed by the supreme court in favor of the government.

In the meantime, a routine review in 1950 declassified the disputed reports from "secret" to "restricted", which is the equivalent of FOUO, which would have allowed the use of the reports in the case. Everyone involved in the case, from the plaintiffs up to the supreme court, and including all witnesses, was unaware of the declassification, which wasn't discovered until the 2000's. The case ran to its conclusion with everyone involved continuing to believe that the documents were classified. The case went on to be the legal basis for all future claims of state secrets privilege by the executive branch.

ref:http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?civilliberties_patriot_act=civilliberties_state_secrets&timeline=civilliberties

about 4 months ago
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Why Letting Your Insurance Company Monitor How You Drive Can Be a Good Thing

bitingduck Re:No F#$KING way (567 comments)

I imagine you realize this, but sometimes these are needed for good driving too. Around here, many freeway on-ramps are on the short side, at which point aggressive acceleration is needed to merge at freeway speed (alas I rarely see drivers do this). Then there are short off-ramps where heavy braking allows one to avoid braking until fully out of the flow of traffic (again few drivers do this).

There are some really impressively short ones on the 110 freeway in LA. Basically a stop sign that feeds into a freeway lane, and the exit ramp is the same.

about 5 months ago

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