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Comment Claims vs reality (Score 1) 72

Your wrong here though. I remember this coming up with BMW in the 90s. If you asked BMW owners they would rate their cars as some of the most reliable on the roads. Objectively they were crap in reliability though. It's all people justifying things.

Nobody bought a BMW because of their reliability no matter what they claimed unless they were a fanboi who couldn't be bothered to actually look at the data. This is true of most luxury car brands with a few notable exceptions. Furthermore your argument is nonsense because CR rates reliability based on surveys to actual owners of those cars. Sure you might find a braggart who is delusional or honestly hasn't had any problems with their BMW but those are the exception rather than the rule. Similarly nobody buys a Tesla because of its reliability no matter what they are claiming.

Cars that are bought for reliability market that fact front and center. BMW markets their cars as the ultimate driver's cars. Tesla doesn't ma

The Ferrari is a red herring, anybody even remotely familiar with any of the super cars knows they're god awful for reliability, but that's not what you're buying it for and nobody will argue for their reliability

Incorrect. It's an extreme example of my point but you are confirming what I'm saying. People don't buy Tesla vehicles with reliability as a primary concern. I'm sure it's on the list somewhere but it's not the main consideration. Consumer Reports however they regard reliability as a top concern even when the buyers of the vehicle in question do not.

Yet objectively they're somewhere between average reliability and crap reliability.

Objectively the average reliability of cars today is actually extremely good. So someone who says their car is reliable when the data says it is average probably isn't lying. The difference between top and mid-tier reliability these days is really not a big difference. This is quite a change from 20 years ago when there were rather substantial differences in reliability between brands.

Comment Different measuring stick (Score 4, Interesting) 72

If people are emotionally invested in a poor decision, then they will retroactively justify it in a lot of ways.

One person's poor decision is another person's awesome decision. Let's use a different car company - Ferrari. Nobody buys a Ferrari because of the reliability ratings in Consumer Reports. They buy it because of the looks, the performance, the badge, or other reasons. The decision tree and evaluation of satisfaction about the purchase simply won't be based on whether it is as reliable as a Toyota Camry. Tesla is somewhat in the same boat. Reliability is pretty far down the list of reasons why someone buys a Tesla in most cases.

Remember that Consumer Reports has a particular view point on their evaluation of cars. They apply the same ratings to all vehicles regardless of whether those ratings actually are relevant to the buyers of those cars. This isn't a case of post-hoc justification of satisfaction. It's that the measuring stick for satisfaction is a lot more complicated than how reliable Consumer Reports thinks the car is. Consumer Reports provides useful data but you have to understand that it is data from a very specific view point which may or may not be relevant.

Comment Cost of repair (Score 1) 72

There's another useful metric - cost of repair.

It is useful but not publicly available. Tesla isn't going to break this number out on their financial statements and Consumer Reports doesn't have access to the real number. One might be able to make an educated guess at it but there would be some very substantial error bars on that calculation.

They're about $7 billion in the hole and still a year, at least, before their mass market car ships.

Which is why their stock valuation is astonishing. I think Tesla is a pretty good company doing very interesting things. But their market capitalization is bat shit crazy. It is completely unjustifiable given the size and any reasonable analysis of the near term prospects of the company. It doesn't make sense that an unprofitable company selling 50,000 vehicles a year has a market cap half the size of General Motors market cap. Tesla simply isn't going to be big enough or profitable enough any time soon to justify that valuation.

Comment Beauty in the eye... (Score 1) 72

Besides, I personally think the model X is one of the least attractive cars you can buy.

That's a matter of opinion. My sister agrees with you but I think the Model X looks fine - at least compared with any other crossover SUV. I don't think it's as pretty as the Model S but it doesn't offend me visually. Different strokes for different folks. Personally I think the Nissan Leaf is FAR uglier than the Model X as well as far less practical if we ignore the vastly different price points. I don't really get why Telsa is the only company that has wrapped their head around the idea that an ugly hatchback with a 100 mile range isn't anything to get excited about.

It seems like something designed only for hipsters.

Ahh, I get it. You don't like it so it must be something designed for your designated generic ill-defined douche bags - aka "hipsters". You don't have to like the vehicle and I get it if it doesn't suit your needs. But I know several people personally who own a Model X and "hipster" doesn't remotely begin to describe any of them. Most of them are people who simply are techies who like the geek factor and performance that comes with a Tesla. A few are greenies who also happen to be car enthusiasts. Reliable or not the cars Tesla makes are among the most interesting vehicles you can buy today regardless of price point.

Comment Not unusual for the luxury car market (Score 1) 72

Most people expected those to take time to get right.

There is more to quality than taking your time. I've worked as a quality engineer in the auto industry. The hard part is installing a company culture that values quality while still being able to manage costs effectively.

But the issues with poor build quality was simply horrendous and would have been unacceptable for cars costing well below the Model X base price.

I guess you've never dealt with cars in that price range much before. Nobody buys a car with a six figure price tag because of its reliability. Super cars are notoriously unreliable. Nobody buys a Lambo or a Ferrari or even a Land Rover for its reliability. People buy them for their features, looks, and brand but almost never because they don't expect to see the inside of a repair shop. Part of this is because high priced cars tend to have the latest gizmos as well as a lot of them so there simply are more places for things to break. Given how much they are pushing the envelope on car design and features I'm not really surprised there are some quality problems with some Tesla cars. But when compared to the cars they are currently competing against their quality seems to be roughly par for the course compared to their nearest competition like BMWs or Mercedes. Toyota/Lexus is probably the exception that proves the rule as they tend to lead the pack on quality though their cars also tend to be rather conservative and boring me-too designs.

Now that's not really an excuse for poor quality but if you are going to compare apples to apples Tesla isn't really out of the ordinary in the market they are selling to. And to their credit Tesla seems to take dealing with problems that arise in their vehicles seriously and proactively. It indicates that the Model S is now roughly average build quality which these days is actually pretty darn good. If you want to argue that Tesla should be better I won't disagree. Personally if something costs that much money I don't think it's unreasonable to expect it to be well designed and well built.

Comment Analogies and missing the point (Score 1) 206

Hawaii is a really nice place for humans to live: the weather is perfect, it's lush and beautiful, there's all kinds of fun things to do like swimming, surfing, scuba diving, exploring rain forests, etc.

Way to miss the point. We explore Antarctica too for lots of very good reasons and it is anything but hospitable. Mars is very similar but with the degree of difficulty turned up to 11. There are plenty of good reasons to go there in person. Learn to understand what an analogy is and stop thinking so literally and being so short sighted.

Comment Engage your brain (Score 1) 206

So the only reason to go to Mars would be tourism? That's not a compelling case.

Holy missing the point Batman! Of course there are more reasons to go to Mars than tourism. Science research, preservation of our species, joy of exploration, financial gain, engineering, military dominance, and the list goes on and on. Use your brain and think of a few more. It's not hard. The point is that relatively little of this is possible by just sending robots just like there is a difference between knowing that it is 85F and sunny in Hawaii and actually being there yourself.

Comment Figurehead (Score 1) 105

What I always find somewhat funny about that is that Bush was suppose to be the dumbest fucking person on the planet yet all these people in congress were fooled multiple times by him which should be fairly telling about the quality of the people in the house and senate.

It wasn't Bush doing the fooling. He was effectively little more than a figurehead who could get elected. The real movers and shakers were people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest. They were the tail that wagged the dog. Bush wasn't a strong enough leader to dominate the room when they were in it. Furthermore when the CIA, NSA and the rest of our "intelligence" agencies were feeding bad information it becomes hard to make a properly informed decision even at the best of times.

That said, a lot of congress isn't terribly bright or capable. Certainly not our best and brightest except maybe for purposes of looking out for their own interests.

Comment Re:Fickle as the wind (Score 1) 105

BS. Most of the politicians voted for it because the war was very popular with their constituents at the time.

The war was NEVER popular with many/most constituents. What the politicians were worried about was being vulnerable to the (bogus) argument that voting against the war meant they were "soft on terrorism and getting voted out of office as a result. While there was a portion of the population that was very hawkish just like with any conflict, most people were not at any time in favor of starting a war with Iraq. There was no evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks and the case against Iraq was obviously shown to be a fabrication. No, congress voted to support the military action (there never was a declaration of war) out of political expediency and based on what turned out to be false information.

Comment Fickle as the wind (Score 4, Insightful) 105

Trump never solidly supported the Iraq War.

Trump never solidly supports any position. He changes his mind more often than a teenage girl changes moods. I don't actually mind someone changing their mind about a topic when they learn new information or even if they give a matter serious consideration. Trump never gives anything serious consideration. His policy positions are the very definition of fickle and certainly aren't based out of any ideology or even pragmatism but instead out of whatever whim strikes him at the time. He basically plays to whatever crowd he is facing and lies almost all the time.

Hillary Clinton voted for the war; that's a bit more serious.

So did most of congress at the time and they did so largely based on bad data from our intelligence agencies and the Bush administration. A mistake I think but not one that makes me think Trump would be a better choice as commander in chief.

Comment Randomly selected policy positions (Score 2, Funny) 105

Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders oppose this merger.

The fact that he might have a position that agrees with Bernie Sanders on some random issue is actually rather high since Trumps opinions are selected apparently at random. Anything that comes out of his mouth may as well have been chosen by throwing darts at a list of policy options. And he has a high probability of denying his positing ever having been his position the following day even if he was recorded saying it. But some amount of them will agree with Sanders just by pure chance.

Comment Have to go to learn (Score 2) 206

Which is exactly why we should go there. Were not going to find out or learn anything without going to Mars to test these things.

Agreed. This is actually one of the most compelling arguments against the "only send robots" crowd. You cannot learn much of anything about topics like exo-farming by just sending robots. Same with every other topic relating to human physiology and space. I strongly expect that anything we learn would have immediate and useful applications on terrestrial farming.

Comment Big challenges (Score 3, Informative) 206

If we send 1000 people to Mars how exactly are we going to feed them?

It will be a substantial challenge but hardly the only one. Early explorers will be supplied from Earth but they'll have to develop some self sustaining exo-farming technology. This is not a trivial problem. And manufacturing will have even bigger problems. You basically have to develop an entire self contained supply chain from scratch which except for life support issues is probably the biggest show stopper problem with colonizing another planet. Need some tungsten? You have to either ship it from Earth at tremendous cost or you have to figure out how to mine it and refine it locally on Mars. Either way it's a tough challenge.

Has anybody done some thinking on the steaks and the veggies?

Yes though such research has a looooong way to go.

Comment Exo-Farming (Score 3, Insightful) 206

We have the technology to grow plants inside,

We do but that doesn't mean we can do so with 100% reliability. Plus we have a lot to learn before we start exo-farming. It's not clear how reliably we can grow crops on Mars even in a well controlled greenhouse. There is reason for optimism but there is a lot we don't know yet.

Mars has enough gravity that most plants should grow just fine,

Perhaps but currently that is an unproven assertion. Frankly the gravity is likely to be among the least of the challenges to growing food on Mars. When you have a small self contained garden you run the risk of any number of problems hugely disrupting the entire crop. And the crop for early explorers will necessarily be small with minimal excess most likely. On Earth we have enough agriculture that we only tend to experience localized famines due to distribution problems because other areas can make up for a shortage. Early Mars explorers could very easily have their entire crop wiped out and the only back up option is to ship food from Earth. I'm not saying it's impossible but it probably will be quite a challenge.

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