atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2344: 1,001 uses!

Dark matter can be used for anything! Are you tired of mucking about with icky General Relativity to figure out how galaxies hold together? Have you spent your entire career adovcating a model of a closed universe only to have pesky reality indicate the universe might be open? Were you ever frustrated by your inability to come up with a groundbreaking theory? Do you need stars in the early universe?

Dark matter to the rescue!

*sigh*

* * *

Looks like even GM's Volt has to obey the laws of physics. If you want to move at a certain speed, you have to expend a certain amount of energy to get to that speed and keep moving at it.

The car gets about 30-40 MPG in the real world, depending on how you drive it.

Worse:
We're now told by Volt's engineering team that when the Volt's lithium-ion battery pack runs down and at speeds near or above 70 mph the Volt's gasoline engine will directly drive the front wheels along with the electric motors.
(From the article linked by Ace's post.)

So under high-speed-high-load conditions, the gas engine helps the electric motor drive the front wheels. Otherwise, it turns the generator which powers the electric motor.

Either way, the thing gets the same fuel economy as my $600 jalopy.

Pass.

* * *

I'll say it again: use a modern and compact (sub-liter displacement) turbodiesel to drive the generator, and you'll get 70-80-90 MPG. Ford of Europe is getting 65 MPG out of a turbodiesel Focus with acceptable performance, and that's with something like 1.6 liters of displacement and no electric helper motors. If you confine the internal combustion engine to its most efficient powerband and run a generator from it, and then drive an electric motor with the electricity generated therefrom, your fuel economy will skyrocket.

* * *

All of the 401(k) accounts out there represent a huge pool of money the Democrats are salivating over.

* * *

The Anchoress on bullies. There is only one way to make bullies stop.

Ignoring them doesn't work.

Telling on them doesn't work.

Running away doesn't work.

The only way to stop a bully is to kick his teeth in.

* * *

Can you believe it's already Columbus Day? That basically makes it mid-October. WTF it was like August a few minutes ago....

* * *

Apparently there's a second ToLoveRu series, called Motto ToLoveRu. ("More Trouble".) I may or may not start grabbing that. I have started downloading Ayako's translation of To Aru Majutsu no Index II but I don't plan to watch any of it until I've got at least half the eps in the can.

On balance ToLoveRu turned out to be pretty decent, though.

I was thinking about K-ON!! and realized that the second series was not as good as the first. K-on! was charming and had good energy and humor; K-ON!! seemed to drag. It didn't seem to contain as much of the things that made K-on! so entertaining.

But conversely, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun--which is a spinoff of To Aru Majutsu no Index--is better than the series it comes from. I'd like to spend a lot more time with the characters in Railgun.

Index suffers from having a cast which is not really engaging. Okay, we root for Touma because he's the main character; and we support the people he's trying to help--but I don't find Index a sympathetic character and the other damsels in distress are either too distant or have other defects. The most sympathetic damsel was Hyouka Kazakiri...and there's a whole 'nother problem with her. (No spoilers given.) And of the other supporting characters, lots of them are jerks. And I'm talking about people on Touma's side.

All right; not everyone is a happy cooperative sort of person who is only trying to help. In Index that's Touma's role; most everyone else is out for "his own self." But that's part of the problem with the series: it becomes a "Touma versus the world" story. He gets some help from people but it's usually callous and disinterested, more "I'm helping you because the alternative is ruination" rather than "I'm helping you because it's the right thing to do."

Railgun is the opposite: the girls do the things they do because it's the right thing, because someone's got to, because they're the only ones who know what's happening that can do anything about it. And the characters are engaging people you want to spend time with.

For all of that, Index is good entertainment. The stories kick ass. Touma himself is a good protagonist who fights some pretty incredible odds, and his psionic ability is powerful enough to put him on par with the worst baddies to be found in Academy City. (And outside of it.) But I know I'm not alone in enjoying Railgun more.

A lot probably comes down to personal taste, though, too. Index is a bit grim. Railgun is not. Sometimes that makes all the difference.

* * *

You know, you take English Composition and you struggle to write a "compare and contrast" essay, wondering when the hell you will ever need to use that skill.

Then you take up blogging. *sigh*
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