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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

itsdapead Re:No real surprise (710 comments)

Why wasn't this modded funny? That list clearly was ironic, right?

"Solved" is a bit wildly optimistic.

"Improved beyond recognition where the laws exist and are enforced" I could go with.

about two weeks ago

New Raspberry Pi Model B+

itsdapead Re:RPi? That overhyped underdimensioned joke alive (202 comments)

Really guys, you update it but you do nothing about the processor or amount of RAM?!

Seriously, what do you expect for $35? They've done well to add the extra USB without raising the price (and, hopefully, removed the need to buy a powered USB hub which was the real dealbreaker with the old Pi).

The stated aim of the Pi was to always encourage people to muck around with programming and electronics without the risk of bricking an expensive PC. Its quite deliberately built down to a price, so letting the magic smoke out is never a big deal.

Devices like the Hummingboard and the BeagleBone Black (which probably wouldn't have existed without the success of the Pi) look great, but they already cost ~30% more.

about two weeks ago

FTC Files Suit Against Amazon For In-App Purchases

itsdapead Re:Where is section 5? (47 comments)

Anyone got any ideas where I'm doing it wrong?

You need to 30 gems to get the Magic Scroll of Tort and unlock section 5. Best way is to purchase the "LawyerUp Gold" pack for $14.99.

Thank you for playing Crazy Courtroom Saga 3.

about three weeks ago

Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

itsdapead Re:The Amazon AppStore Auto-consent (137 comments)

What is next, blame Ford because your kid was able to steal your keys off your dresser and wreck the car while you are sleeping?

...if Ford made the key fob in the shape of a cartoon character with a voice chip that kept saying "Hey kids! Pick me up and lets go for a drive" then, maybe.

Yes, parents should take responsibility for their kids - but that doesn't give businesses the right to exploit their slightest lapse.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

itsdapead Re:many are missing something important. (247 comments)

If you actually had one, you'd be aware where the superchargers within 100 miles of you are

I've looked. There isn't one.

To be fair, I live in the UK and they're only just starting to roll out. Last time I looked, the nearest one was in the Netherlands, but now there's one in London, which is about 125 miles away. However, the problem is that it is in London. With London traffic, even if your home or destination is in another part of London, that's not a lot of use. According to the Tesla site they'll have about 10 stations around England by the end of the year - but if they are likewise in the middle of major cities rather than motorway service areas they will be of limited use.

Looking at the US map, there are plenty of states with no chargers.

I've also looked at what I could do with a Leaf or something: there is actually a pretty comprehensive network of 'fast' chargers at motorway service areas, hotels etc. so in theory I could make my most common ~200 mile journey with a mid-way recharge and lunch break... except there's one small problem: these stations typically have one "fast" charger (go and have lunch) and one "slow" charger (check in to the nearest hotel). If you arrived for your charge and somebody had already plugged in and buggered off for a 4-course meal, you'd better hope that you've got enough juice to get to the next one - which means you're going to end up stopping for a top up ad every single bloody charger you pass 'just in case'.

The BMW i3 with range extender looks interesting - especially as the UK/EU version has a bigger petrol tank than the US one (which has been gimped to qualify as an EV in California) - but it costs a fortune compared with other small cars.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

itsdapead Re:Not American, but... (247 comments)

For fuck's sake, read your choice of the article, the summary, or the title before posting. This is a $30,000 mid-range vehicle that would fulfil, entirely, the commuting needs of a vast segment of American commuters (who don't drive long distances or haul boats or other large things).

For fuck's sake, red and comprehend your choice of the article, the summary, or the title before flaming.

Nowhere in TFA does it say that the model E will cost $30,000. Telsa say that the E will be "realistically priced" (whatever that means) against the BMW 3 series and Audi A4. Whoever wrote the summary has helpfully looked up the starting price of an Audi A4 for you.

The Tesla E hasn't been launched yet - its unclear from TFA how far advanced the design is. There's no clue what the range is going to be, but if they're using heavy materials and have less space for the battery 'less than the Tesla S' would be a good bet.

Hint: BMW 3 and Audi A4 are already premium-priced cars. The E is still going to cost more and have less utility because of range limitations.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

itsdapead Iceland = poster child for EVs (247 comments)

You should offer a service: if one of us is feeling guilty about burning gas, but we're not sure if using electricity from gas, oil or nuclear, we can offset our carbon footprint by buying you a Tesla that you can run on 100% guaranteed green* Icelandic geothermal power.

(*well, all those volcanos and geysers probably pump out obscene amounts of CO2 and radioactive shit, but that's not humanity's fault and they're still gonna do that if you don't harvest the energy).

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

itsdapead Re:many are missing something important. (247 comments)

How often do you drive across the US?

Why does it have to be across the US?

The problems start when you have to drive more than about 100 miles. Yeah, you can do 200-300 miles in a Tesla (depending on model) but then you have to start to think about things like do you need a heater/ air con/lights? Will you be able to recharge at your destination? If not, is there a supercharger en route? How much distance does that add? Hoe much time does that add?

So, forget trans-USA road trips. Just imagine a 100 mile each-way trip to a meeting somewhere (there and back in a day), with no guarantee of a power point at your destination, with no guarantee of 'goldilocks zone' weather.... and you're already worrying about range, whether there's a supercharger en. route, and having to leave an hour earlier.

That said, Tesla's fast battery swap looks like a much more practical alternative to a gas station. The 'charging station' idea doesn't scale if EVs get more popular: if you sometimes have to queue at a gas station with 15 pumps and a 5-minute turn around time, a couple of charging bays where people park and then head off for a meal just isn't going to cope.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

itsdapead Not American, but... (247 comments)

From discussing this very solution, it seems people (At least american flesh-people) are very opposed to the notion of renting a car for the purpose of driving long-distances, or carrying large things around or just about anything.

... I'm not completely opposed to the notion of buying a "green" commuter car and renting for long trips (assuming that you live somewhere where you can get rental cars delivered at short notice in the event of a family emergency etc).

The notion I'm opposed to is buying a $70000 luxury saloon and still needing to rent another one for long-distance trips. If I bought a $50k+ car it would be precisely because I found myself making long journeys and wanted the comfort.

The Tesla S seems to have a niche for people with a home-based daily commute of, say, ~70 miles each way - long enough to justify wanting to do it in a really nice car but comfortably within the maximum range (so you could still pop out in the evening without waiting for the overnight recharge).

As for gas savings... If you're paying $70k for a new electric car when you can get a really nice gas one for $50k, a couple of k$ a year on gas is hardly a consideration. If you buy a brand new car rather than a 1-year-old one, the devaluation when you drive it off the forecourt could have kept you in gas for a couple of years...

about three weeks ago

Apple Kills Aperture, Says New Photos App Will Replace It

itsdapead Re:In addition... (214 comments)

Aperture won't run in Yosemite because Apple wants you to use the new app.

Not according to this which claims "an Apple spokesman told them" (distinct lack of "horse's mouth" links, unfortunately) that it would be updated to run on Yosemite.

about 1 month ago

An Army Medal For Coding In Perl

itsdapead Re:A virtuous Perl programmer (192 comments)

I'm always amazed at what non-programmers are impressed by. Code up some major application, and... Why doesn't it have this feature? Why does it have that workflow? What kind of colorblind dyslexic idiot designed this UI? But whip up a simple script to automate some repetitive, routine task and you're a genius!

It suggests that one of these things solved a real problem that the users actually had, while the other solved problems that the developers thought the users ought to have.

A simple solution that does something useful, now, is worth 100 elegant applications that will totally revolutionise your work once they're finished... provided you completely re-arrange your practices to match the software.

about a month ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

itsdapead Re:So torn... (532 comments)

So, I'm torn... freedom vs health... where do I stand?! I... think I have to go with freedom here. I *chose* to stop consuming that crap.

It doesn't have to be a dichotomy. The regulations shouldn't be on what is sold, but on how it is sold.

If someone walks up and ask for a super-gutbuster-megasize McMeal, fine - their decision. However, if someone walks up and orders a regular burger, don't try and upsell them to a larger portion. Don't offer to 'super size them' for a small amount (probably pure profit - I suspect the marginal cost of an extra squirt of syrup and another potato is a tiny proportion of the fixed cost of serving a meal), and don't have 'meal deals' that make a burger, drink and fries cheaper than just a burger and a drink*.

Also look at minimum portions (and this applies to 'better places' too, especially in the US): a Danish doesn't have to be the size of Denmark - if someone is really hungry they can buy two. A "starter" is not meant to be a full meal (calling a 10" pizza a 'flatbread' doesn't make it a starter - been there a few times!).

Even in the supermarket, why do chicken Kievs and suchlike always come in 2 packs? (and, conversely, when things do come in 'serves 1' portions, why are they 1/3 the size of the 'serves 2' version?) Why are bread rolls 60p each or £1.30 for 4?

ANS: because, one way or another, it lets businesses make more money or have a competitive edge. They're not going to change unless they are forced.

* Actually, I usually get diet cola anyway with a burger and (too much) < (too much + more), so its the unwanted fries that are the problem - yeah, I chuck them away sometimes, but its an effort: the easiest way not to eat food is not to buy it.

about a month ago

Building the Infinite Digital Universe of No Man's Sky

itsdapead Re:Elite? (100 comments)

Reminds me of Elite of old past. While fun for a while, the similarities got boring and tedious pretty fast.

Thing is, although Elite used procedural generation, the game was about space combat, trading, piracy and smuggling with cutting edge (for the time - kids today won't understand) graphics. Things like the planet names and descriptions, and the fact there were a gazillion systems, were part of the atmosphere, not the Unique Selling Point.

Same with Minecraft - when you get fed up of exploring your effectively infinite world, there's building stuff, playing with redstone circuitry, fighting, potions, railways, breeding horses... The procedural generation is part of an ensemble. So the jury's out until we here what No Man's Sky's gameplay is like.

about a month ago

NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

itsdapead Re:We should have a choice (455 comments)

265 miles isn't far enough for you? You also get *free* charging at their stations.

265 miles then recharge at the nearest filling station would be fine. Hell, after 265 miles I'd be ready for an hour's break.

The reality, though, is 265 miles (assuming you're starting fully charged from your mains-equipped garage), minus x miles if you need air con, lights or heating, minus y miles detour to take in the nearest supercharger, minus z miles extra safety margin (because if you run out its a tow to the nearest supercharger) isn't quite there yet. From the map on Tesla's website, there are plenty of US states with no superchargers at all. According to the same map, there are 0 in the UK (which may be out-of-date).

Looking at the UK, there's an OK-looking network of non-super chargers (still nothing like the filling station network), but they're typically 1 regular (13A) bay + one fast charger bay. If you turn up and the fast charger is in use (with the occupants off somewhere having a meal or shopping) then you better have enough charge to get 50 miles to the next station...

Also, since the battery size is determined by the size of the car (unless you fill all the luggage space with battery), having to buy a full-size sedan just to get a > 100 mile range is a problem if you really want a compact. Personally, the Tesla is the sort of car I'd only consider if I was making regular long trips.

There's also a huge scalability problem with charging stations - a regular gas pump can fill one car every few minutes, an EV charging bay can only top-up one car every half hour but by that time the occupants will probably be staring their third Big Mac or in the mall trying on shoes. While EVs are a rarity you can get away with a couple of charging bays every 50 miles, which will probably pay for themselves by attracting wealthy Tesla owners to shops and restaurants. If they take off, you'd be talking about wiring up half the bays in the main parking lot.

I think its great that Tesla are working hard on some of these problems... I wish people wouldn't pretend that they were all solved.

(Actually, I've seen a video of Tesla's robotic quick battery swap procedure, which seems more viable for on-the-go recharges, and would be particularly sensible combined with a battery-leasing scheme).

about a month ago

"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

itsdapead Re:And hippies will protest it (396 comments)

*eye roll*

Why? Does that have more vitamin A than an egg roll?

about a month and a half ago

"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

itsdapead Re:What's wrong with normal bananas? (396 comments)

It's free. 30 years down the road no one can claim a patent on it.

Yup, that's what's wrong with normal bananas - no payola for Big Agro.

about a month and a half ago

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

itsdapead Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

Anti-GMO hysteria is anti-science, plain and simple. It is no different from insisting that CO2 doesn't drive global warming

Couple of important differences:

First, follow the money. Which side of each 'debate' is being bankrolled by big business?

Which side relies on "absence of evidence* is evidence of absence" and is expecting the other to "prove" its case by making firm "this is going to happen" predictions about a huge, complex, poorly understood natural system? (*and we get to choose what we mean by 'evidence')

Which side is proposing to "test" their position by forging ahead and irreversibly introducing material into the environment and seeing if any of the other sides doomsday predictions come true? You know, like continuing to pump CO2 into the atmosphere in increasing quantities, or going a head and introducing GMOs into the environment?

Which side is spouting scientifically incorrect bullshit like "CO2 is a harmless inert gas" or "We've been using GMOs for thousands of years?" (see thread above).

I'm not against GMO research provided it takes place in a sealed vat in a biologically isolated environment. Meanwhile, in Europe the problem is over-production fuelled by subsidies, and intensive farming (even without GMO) fucking up the environment. The third world is starving for a complex variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) poor infrastructure, wars, corrupt politics and some guy in Rome telling people not to use condoms. None of these problems are solved by maize resistant to one (expensive) brand of weedkiller or tomatoes with a 1-month shelf-life, especially when the end result is that your essential food crops are now (c), (r), (tm), patent-pending, copy-protected BigAgroCorp property. The amount of risk justified by these "benefits" is pretty much zero.

about a month and a half ago

Google Engineer: We Need More Web Programming Languages

itsdapead Solution/problem mismatch (309 comments)

Not that Javascript doesn't have faults, but what exactly is it about Javascript that means it can't be used offline? The only real hurdles to writing 'offline' apps in Javascript are the lack of traditional local file access and other anti-cross-site-scripting features in browsers which have nothing to do with Javascript itself and everything to do with security concerns that would affect any 'web language'.

I give you, for example, GitHub's new "Atom" editor which, as far as I can tell, is mostly Javascript, running in its own gimped version of Chromium with the local file access API enabled. I assume Adobe Brackets is the same. Any 'offline' Javascript code that you've written in Node.JS are obviously a figment of your imagination, too.

Meanwhile, languages that "compile" to Javascript as if it were bytecode seem to work quite well, like the aforementioned 'Dart', Coffeescript, Haxe and Google Web Toolkit (which compiles Java to JavaScript). From what I've seen, although they ain't gonna be used for climate modelling or big data anytime soon, their performance is quite adequate for the sort of thing that web apps need to do.

about a month and a half ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

itsdapead What paradox? (686 comments)

perhaps interstellar travel is impossible or maybe civilizations are always self-destructive. But with every new discovery of a potentially habitable planet, the Fermi Paradox becomes increasingly mysterious.

No, it doesn't. It just suggests that interstellar travel and communication are very, very difficult. They don't have to be impossible, just hard enough to put a spoke in the Ponzi-scheme galactic colonization plan that the Fermi prediction relies on, and why SETI hasn't found any needles in the haystack yet.

We know that space travel is hard. We got from powered flight to landing on the Moon in a single human lifetime, then hit the wall. We have hugely successful, experimentally proven theories of physics that say that FTL travel is impossible, and well-reasoned scientific speculation showing that the possible loopholes (Alcubiere warps, wormholes etc.) require access to exotic matter, consume ridiculous amounts of energy, and (fortunately, for causality's sake) have deal-breaking complications... and even if they work may only provide near/at/slightly over lightspeed travel. We know enough about energy and matter to start doing the sums for slower-than-light interstellar travel and work out how difficult it is* (even SF writers fall back on Unobtanium power rather than 'old fangled' fusion drives for their generation ships, now).

As for communication/detecting signals, our only data point is us: A century or so after inventing radio, we're already switching to highly compressed, encrypted digital signals indistinguishable from noise without the 'key', transmitted at the lowest power and tightest beam possible.

So, despite all the plausible resolutions of the 'Fermi paradox' which, while not proven, are built on reasoned extrapolation of what we do know, why do people focus on the least plausible resolution: 'there are no aliens' which, while impossible to conclusively disprove without actually finding an alien, relies on us existing on the tail end of a probability curve?

That is anthropocentric thinking bordering on religion.

* Plus, if you can build generation ships that can survive in interstellar space, and manage their populations, it would be far, far easier to build space habitats and park them somewhere with solar energy and big chunks of raw materials floating around. Kinda reduces your incentive for Ponzi colonization which, as Greg Egan put it, "is what bacteria with spaceships would do".

about a month and a half ago

Toyota Investigating Hovercars

itsdapead Re:I get enough flying priuses already. (186 comments)

"Try an experiment: go the speed limit in the center lane of the highway and see how many furious drivers pound their horns and flash their headlights"

Yeah , I wonder why that could be. Perhaps because some arrogant ass is blocking the lane when he's supposed to move over if the nearside lane is clear.

Red herring. Where did the GP say that the nearside lane was clear? I've often been overtaking a string of slow-moving traffic, only to have some wanker in a big German saloon (the sort with the aggressive-looking LED running lights designed to intimidate peons without flashing and honking) drop out of hyperdrive 6" behind my tailpipe. If the nearside lane did have room to swing a cat, they would use it to pass you.

about a month and a half ago


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