Erik of Hazelfield

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About Erik of Hazelfield

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    Council Member
  • Birthday 02/09/1984

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    The North

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  1. Sometimes I wonder if it would be more worthwhile for us gun control advocates to argue strongly, steadfastly and unashamedly for a complete repeal of the second amendment, rather than tiptoeing around the issue and trying to sneak in half measures like background checks and limitations of clip sizes, or indeed discussing the finer points of grammar of the amendment. Maybe that way we could, in time, create a strong political movement to abolish this piece of legislation, which is a disgrace and increasingly for every mass shooting becoming an embarrassment for the United States of America.
  2. I support the idea of a constitution, I really do. I like the bill of rights. But when a country has one specific right that no other country on Earth recognises, isn’t that a clue that it might be, you know, controversial? Worth reconsidering? Especially when it’s bloody stupid and causes nothing good.
  3. In the last thread you got several responses questioning that idea, and I still haven’t seen any response to that. So let’s try again: 1) Why on Earth do you think gun control assumes every gun owner to be a likely threat? 2) What exactly do you mean by “likely” in this context? A specific percentage? 3) Do you agree that drunk driving laws are immoral too? After all they assume every drunk driver to be a likely threat, even though most don’t crash.
  4. I think the law and the culture follow each other. You’ll have a hard time changing gun culture as long as the second amendment is there, enshrined right in the country’s constitution. On the other hand it’s completely impossible to change any laws, let alone the constitution, without a change in culture. The thing that truly needs to go is the notion that burglars and murderers are creeping around your house at night and that you need to defend yourself and your family with guns. It’s ridiculous, but if that’s the reality you think you’re living in then I see why you’d want a gun.
  5. This argument doesn’t make sense. What does “likely” even mean in this context? Some specific percentage? If you think about it, almost any risk is “not likely” after all. If I go driving drunk, way too fast and without a seat belt, chances are still pretty high that I won’t crash. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it, let alone allow it, because the risk is multiple times higher than if I wasn’t drunk or speeding.
  6. The disdain of public transport is an almost purely American phenomenon. In places like Japan, Singapore, large parts of Europe etc everyone uses it because it's faster, cheaper and more convenient than cars. That could be the case in the U.S. too if it wasn't for the fact that its public transportation is underfunded, underdimensioned and underappreciated.
  7. The thing about Teslas, I think, is that they show how an electric car can be superior instead of inferior to gas cars. The Model S is the market leader in its segment (large luxury sedans). People use them as their only car without problems. Price is really the only thing holding the revolution back at this point. Charger ubiquity isn't a problem now and likely won't be in the future either, at least not in somewhat densely populated areas. Chargers are much cheaper to build than gas stations and there are far fewer safety requirements which means you can put them anywhere. What I'm saying is that once the Model 3 becomes common, the whole world will want an electric car. Gas cars will become about as hot as non-flat TVs are today. That's when I think the change will happen, and it will come faster than most people think.
  8. I live in the Swedish city of Västerås (funnily enough pronounced sort of like Westeros) which does have a pretty good bus service and no car queues to speak of. And I guess you're right about the buses. You seem to know a lot about this subject. Is there anything that can save an urban sprawl neighbourhood or are American cities doomed to live with congestion and car dependence forever?
  9. I think autonomous cars will have a tremendous impact on our society in that it will eliminate all driving jobs, including truckers, taxi drivers and bus drivers. It might make a long commute more acceptable if you can work, read or even sleep during it. But what I don't think is that it will solve any of the congestion problems in our cities because cars are simply inadequate for the job, self-driving or not. The possible option would be if autonomous tech and electric propulsion make buses extremely cheap to run and operate. Think about it - no driver to pay, no fuel - we could have buses running every 5 minutes until late in the evenings, but it would require cheaper batteries before it could happen.
  10. Last time there was a partial solar eclipse where I live, I used two 3.5 mm floppy disks and pulled the shutters to the side to look through the little pieces of exposed disk (two disks were needed to get the light reduced enough). It was a bit cumbersome and I won't exactly recommend it, but if you can't get your hands on proper protective glasses it's a hell of a lot better than using regular sunglasses which are definitely not adequate in any way. Totally envy you guys who can see the totality. I plan to do this at least once in my life.
  11. A Tesla Model S consumes about 22 kWh per 100 km. I can't find statistics for the world and it might not even exist but according to this link about 3 trillion miles are driven in the U.S. every year. If we naïvely assume the rest of the world (23 times the population) drives as much, we end up with about 2500 TWh per year if all the world's cars were electric. That would mean we had to increase world electricity generation by about 10%. I've seen other calculations vary between 7% and 24% increase in electricity demand. Definitely possible during the slow ramp-up of EV sales that we expect. Of course, while doing this demand for oil would drop by more than half. Lithium hasn't been high in demand so production has been low. Most of it isn't even being used for batteries. Two orders of magnitude, that might be a stretch, but there is little doubt the industry will try to recycle all the metals in the batteries once the volume makes it economically worthwile. Tesla are designing their new factory to do this, for example. Like Altherion, I believe future battery tech might use something else. Lithium is particularly good from a chemical perspective because of its high electrode potential though, so I won't hold my breath. We might get rid of the cobalt and manganese though. Neodymium is not necessary with AC asynchronous motors so that problem is already solved. This link is awesome.
  12. Yes, keeping drivers around even though the cars can drive themselves seems a bit similar to digging holes and then filling them up again. Won't happen and I don't think it's even desirable. But I think we might need to look at some kind of basic income system, because unemployment will skyrocket and this time the jobs won't be coming back. Regarding electric cars and their shortcomings, I agree on most accounts. Today's electric cars just don't cut it - they're either too short on range, look strange, can't be fast charged, or are ridiculously expensive. The Tesla Model 3 might be a game changer, but it will take a while before it ships in sufficient numbers to make any difference.
  13. I disagree with the notion that electric cars make the most sense in dense cities. I think they have a much bigger advantage in rural areas and smaller cities where you need to use your car all the time and where most people have their own charging point. That combination tilts the total economy in favour of electric cars. In fact, I think cars have limited use in big cities, electric or not. Rapid transit, bike lanes (or preferably bike roads), buses and car-free zones combined with congestion charges for cars make for much nicer, quieter and more livable cities for everyone. Cars are great for many purposes but driving one man and his briefcase back and forth to work every day is not one of them. Wastes too much road space per person.
  14. I saw that this was discussed in the UK politics thread and rather than hijack that one, I decided to start a new one. What do you think is the future of transportation? Electric cars? Autonomous cars? Will we own any cars at all or will we have other modes of transportation? I firmly believe all future cars will be electric and that the scales are just about to tip. Manufacturing capacity and price are really the only two hurdles left to clear. Once cheap electric cars become available on the market no one will want anything else. They just have too many advantages - they're quiet, generate enormous torque, are environmentally friendly generally nice to drive - but the real killer feature is the charging. Only during long trips do you have to charge it at a station like a gas car - otherwise you just charge it at home every night like you do with your phone! The price of electricity is on the order of five times less expensive per mile than gasoline. I do not believe in hydrogen for use in cars. Hydrogen cars have only one obvious advantage and that's that they're faster to refill. They also have smaller batteries and thus need less expensive elements like lithium, manganese and cobalt, but on the other hand they need some platinum so I'm not sure about the end result economically. They're also a vastly more complicated design and have less room for improvement regarding energy content vs range, but most importantly they cannot be charged at home and I think that disadvantage will mean they just never take off. They would have made sense 20 or even 10 years ago when they were up against gasoline cars and electric cars with lead-acid batteries, but now that we've all seen what an electric car can be, there's no reason to go for anything else.
  15. When a house fly lands in a ceiling, does it make a loop or a roll to get there?