INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS: THE GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE – an in-depth thinkpiece about how to transform the U.S. interstate system with electric vehicles, self-driving cars, mass-transit, and more

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Instead of waiting for viable self-driving vehicles to exist, just build trains!! The most efficient transit option by far, we don’t need to try and invent something new.


This article pulls together a lot of ideas that are not unique by themselves, but synthesizes them to create a high-level plan for how to transform the existing U.S. interstate system. It proposes that change happen incrementally starting with creating special lanes for self-driving cars. From there, it envisions how this could eventually be expanded into an autonomous highway system with vehicle platooning saving energy and electric vehicles widely in use. Charging stations could be created and would be at least partially powered by renewable energy sources located along the interstate right-of-ways. It even suggests incorporating mass transit systems in the median of the transformed interstate.


Puerto Rico is about to award 800 MW of solar and 880 MWh of energy storage, about equivalent to cleaning 8% of its power grid. By 2025, the island will seek 37.5% of its power grid be cleaned in five more bids like this. Country has mandated 100% by 2050.

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Quick thing here, not really relevant but still needs mentioning.

PR is not a country, it’s a territory of the US.


When I moved to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands back in 2017 I was impressed by a huge solar farm they had near the center of the island. About 2 weeks later we got crushed by Hurricane Irma, followed by a glancing blow from Hurricane Maria 2 weeks after that.
Needless to say they don’t have a solar farm any more.


Island nations are cool when it comes to power grids – isolated laboratories. Generally electricity a little more expensive, and – generally – land is very expensive, or simply not available.

Puerto Rich has had a terrible power grid expensive in the past decade. First there was rough Wall Street big business type criminality in ownership of the utilities. Then a bad hurricane hit.

Now, solar plus storage makes sense financially, if the land exists. Article suggested about 10 GW of solar was needed to get grid to 100%. That’s 30-40,000 acres. Puerto Rico is 2.5 million acres – so 1.7% of the land to power all business? Bet 50% of that could be on houses and buildings and parking lots. So under a percent of the land?

Sounds doable.


Meanwhile, mainland USA is still hoping coal will make a resurgence. /s


If it’s single source instead of a distribution net. It will Fail!


Cultivated Meat Passes the Taste Test

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> …a vast window looked into the working laboratory where the company’s cultivated meat samples had been grown from stem-cells, fed on a broth of nutrients in large, stainless-steel bioreactors.

I think *that* is the real story. I wanna hear how they grow it


This has everything to succeed. By removing muscle tissues we’re not harming that many animals and we’re not wasting that much water. And it finally got taste certificate. Now more companies are going to replicate the process. This is the way to go. 1 step forward towards positive evolution.


Very cool. I know we are close to this technology.

I’m really curious what happens to all the animals we have domesticated for food. Do the gene lines just go extinct and only the wild chickens out there remain?


I’m 100% on board for cultivated meat above plant and insect based protein.




Scientists Want to Send a Probe to Catch Up With ‘Oumumua’ by 2054

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I like the idea for sure. But this part:

>the mission would utilize a photon sail at least partially powered by a laser on Earth

OK, call me when that’s ready. When it is, fantastic.


Discovered on October 19, 2017 by the Pan-STARRS1 Near-Earth Object survey, ’Oumuamua challenged astronomers’ assumptions about how small bodies from another star system would look.

It moved too fast to be an asteroid (it was accelerating), it left no trail of debris—so couldn’t be an icy comet—and it also varied in brightness.

Since the object is already out of range of existing telescopes (it was already on its way out of the inner Solar System when it was spotted) there’s only one way to find out. A newly published paper outlines a mission called Project Lyra to send a probe to see if ’Oumuamua is as extraordinary as it appears.


It was accelerating??? How the hell does that happen?


What’s crazy is that its still in our Solar System right now, just out past or approaching Neptune iirc but no one knows its exact position anymore. The fact that we don’t have any kind of interceptor- that we can’t even launch regular science missions to Neptune without it taking a decade to get there is just so sad.


How do you pronounce the name? Ima keep calling it yo mama


A patch that monitors the heart and other vital signs, while never needing to be charged, has been created by Japanese scientists

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The patch is powered by minute piezoelectric generators. Piezoelectric generators work by applying mechanical energy to a crystal, and converting this into electricity.

The patches are roughly the same size as a small plaster and may enable doctors to monitor the health of their patients at all times. Wearable technology often has an issue – how can you keep it powered for long periods of time? This innovative and cutting edge tech could solve this issue for many wearables.


Lol I bet it’s gonna be bought by Zuck and Co and used to sell us even more shit.


Renewables are cheaper than ever – so why are household energy bills only going up?

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Because entrenched business interests are trying to extract more profit from a shrinking market pool.


The article is UK specific.

Renewables are cheap and getting cheaper, they make up and increasing percentage of our electricity, so why are electric bills rising?

Regions without domestic gas supplies or which have depleted most of their gas reserves in recent decades get a lot of their gas by importing it. Countries are now competing hard for gas reserves, which raises the costs.

Gas makes up less than 40% of electricity production. Wind, which dominates in the UK, isn’t even the cheapest renewable. Yet it still only costs 5 pence per kilowatt hour. The intermittency of it only adds another 1 pence per kilowatt hour. Yet, the average electric bills in the UK stand around 20 pence/kwh. That’s around 4 times the cost.

The design of electricity systems has failed to catch up with the revolution in renewable energy. Competitive electricity markets, established in many countries to try and minimise costs, are actually suffering the greatest price rises. This is not because governments elsewhere use taxes to subsidise electricity (though some do), but **because in wholesale electricity markets, the most expensive generator sets the price**.

Since renewables and nuclear will always run when they can, it is fossil fuels – and at present, unequivocally gas, plus the cost of taxes on CO₂ pollution – which set the price almost all the time, because some gas plants are needed most of the time, and they won’t operate unless the electricity price is high enough to cover their operating cost. It’s a bit like having to pay the peak-period price for every train journey you take.

The gap between cheap renewables and expensive final electricity is becoming unconscionable.

What would electricity markets appropriate for renewable energy look like? The author proposes a **green power pool** which would aggregate long-term contracts with renewable energy generators and sell the power on to consumers. The price would mainly be set by the actual investment costs of generators, rather than gas-driven wholesale markets.
When there isn’t enough renewable power being generated or stored – like on cold and calm winter days – the green power pool would buy electricity from the wholesale market for limited periods and quantities. To minimise those costs (and emissions), contracts could give discounts to customers who can use electricity outside of peak times, or those with two-way electric vehicle connections who can sell power back to the grid.


kinda funny how most electricity providers here ask extra fee for green energy like shut the fuck up.


>When there isn’t enough renewable power being generated or stored – like
on cold and calm winter days – the green power pool would buy
electricity from the wholesale market for limited periods and
quantities. To minimise those costs (and emissions), contracts could
give discounts to customers who can use electricity outside of peak

Doesn’t this sort of already exist in the form of variable tariffs that change based on wholesale prices, for example Octopus’ Agile tariff?

When there is abundant power from lower cost sources the price drops and when expensive gas plants are fired up the price rises.


>or those with two-way electric vehicle connections who can sell power back to the grid.

I’m really looking forward to vehicle to home/grid to become a reality, my EV can store enough power to run my house for a week but it sits there on the driveway as I import power at peak times…


Wholesale prices have risen by 250% since mid 2021. This is down to poor wind conditions through 2021 pushing generators to gas. Carbon prices have also pushed away from coal generation and into gas. Meanwhile, due to supply restrictions and high Chinese demand post-Covid, gas prices have soared by four times.

Wholesale electricity costs account for just 35% of the average customer bill in 2020, with the rest attributable to transmission and distribution charges, operating costs, environmental and social obligations, and taxes. Change to cheaper supply, and a third of this is represented by the retail price.


Three former SpaceX engineers are designing self-powered electric freight train cars

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I’m not sure how this would be more efficient than running electric locomotives with standard cars. Might be an edge case for smaller freight deliveries, but in many cases you could accomplish the same thing with a smaller locomotive. Something optimized for 10-20 cars, lets say.

Interesting idea, but this would need a lot of proving out.


> Moving the freight system from diesel to electric power could also play a major part in reducing the carbon emissions that cause global climate change. Transportation accounts for 29% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to a report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in Dec. 2021. Almost a quarter of that comes from medium and heavy duty trucks.


Why are they introducing more mechanisms for failure and repair? Each and every car would require inspection, rather than the more effective and efficient single or dual engine cars with frieght cars/shipping containers in between. We already know this works.

Sure, increasing the usage of freight trains is good, and so is electric trains- but we already know how to electrify trains. It’s done across the world efficiently and effectively by running lines above the tracks. We know it’s safe and effective and proven. This whole concept is dumb.


Not sure these folks know how railroads actually work and what the current state of the railroad infrastructure in the US is. Traffic control, making sure two trains are not trying to occupy the same section of track at the same time is a big deal. Imagine what hundreds of small mini-trains trying to run along the main-line would do to the problem. For this to work a whole new traffic management system would need to be developed and implemented.

The current generation of railroad rolling stock is the result of more than a century of operations, cheap and very reliable. How cheap and reliable will these new electric cars be? There will need to be a massive development of maintenance depots set up to keep these cars running safely. New generations of all-electric locomotives (battery and overhead electrified) are already under development, as are hydrogen power locomotives. Just saying “we don’t use diesel” is not a huge selling point.

Finally, for this to work huge numbers of factories and warehouses will need to be connected to the rail network. Older facilities may still have connections, or were configured for rail connection when they were built, but the rights-of-way to connect them to the main lines may no longer exist. Reclaiming these rights-of-way will bring shouts of NIMBY that will last for years and make many lawyers rich. I expect few new factories and warehouses are being built today with any intention that they will be connected to rail lines. Connecting them may be difficult (and expensive) or impossible in many cases because of their distance from existing rails.

This seems to be a solution in search of a problem.


If you have a compartment that large, hydroelectric motors are actually not a bad idea…


Quantum computing in silicon hits 99% accuracy

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I can provide some context for this as I worked in the field.

The important part of the title here is Silicon. Silicon qubits are a relatively new design that rely on industrial fabrication processes (CMOS – the same thing that is used in your home PC). The advantage of this is that it is in theory easy to build at a large scale.

The 99% figure is the fidelity of what is called a 2-qubit gate. This is a very important metric for a system, as 2-qubit gates are necessary for quantum operations. Any arbitrary quantum algorithm can be implemented using a system of 2q gates, which, when used with error-correcting codes, need 99% benchmark fidelity to be computationally viable. It’s exciting, and will probably lead to a lot of funding in the field. It’s not massively ground breaking; there are still huge hurdles to overcome. There is no silicon quantum computer in operation at the moment, unless you count a two-qubit system, which can do… a cNOT operation. Maybe a SWAP. It’s not really a computer.

Silicon QCs still lag behind superconducting computers (see IBM and Google), but their promise lies in scalability – whilst superconductors are aiming for thousands of qubits, silicon can aim for millions. This is an important step on that road. It doesn’t mean they will be operational tomorrow.

Source: phd in silicon quantum computing


This means quantum error correction is now feasible, paving the way for all the exciting things quantum computers promise.


For those that aren’t terribly up to date on Quantum Computing, how does this compare to non-quantum computing?


Wow, this is awesome! I look forward to see what happens next.


Many quantum engineers think the trapped Ion approach will have the advantage.


IRS Will Soon Require Selfies for Online Access

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I recently had to do this to get my tax transcripts. The entire process is a huge pain in the ass, for what should be very simple. The website is buggy, the images get rejected often… it’s just a mess.


This is complete bullshit. I have meticulously avoided put my image online for obvious privacy reasons. I’ll go to the IRS office thanks.


you have to agree to hold this private company “harmless against all claims, costs and damages, losses and expenses” and agree to arbitration, so you can never sue them and they choose the judge, jury and limit the evidence if you go to arbitration.

Really think about this. In order to use a government service that you are entitled to, you have to agree to never sue a private company.


What will people who don’t have smartphones do? Seems like this could end up discriminating against the elderly and/or the poor (both demographics which rely on smooth communication with the IRS).


If you created an online account to manage your tax records with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), those login credentials will cease to work later this year.

The agency says that by the summer of 2022, the only way to log in to will be through, an online identity verification service that requires applicants to submit copies of bills and identity documents, as well as a live video feed of their faces via a mobile device.

McLean, Va.-based was originally launched in 2010 with the goal of helping e-commerce sites validate the identities of customers who might be eligible for discounts at various retail establishments, such as veterans, teachers, students, nurses and first responders.

These days, is perhaps better known as the online identity verification service that many states now use to help staunch the loss of billions of dollars in unemployment insurance and pandemic assistance stolen each year by identity thieves. The privately-held company says it has approximately 64 million users, and gains roughly 145,000 new users each day.


MIT Lays Out Strategy To Help the U.S. Regain Its Place as a Semiconductor Superpower

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Microelectronics underpin our modern information society. The extraordinary progress that we have witnessed in health, communications, computation, energy, transportation and so many other areas of human endeavor stem from the revolutionary advancements of microelectronics technologies over the last 50 years.

The unrivaled leadership of the U.S. in microelectronics since its inception has brought enormous economic progress to the nation. That commanding role, however, has eroded over time. As leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing capacity has dramatically dwindled in the U.S., concerns about vulnerable supply chains have come to the fore.


I assume it is going to be like the pharmaceutical industry where the public funds all the education, research, and testing, and then large corporations keep al the profits.


Anyone who is interested in this topic should check out the asianometry channel on Youtube. The guy who does it goes into incredible depth and covers why many countries have failed trying to establish their own semiconductor industries.


What is MIT’s solution to human greed…which lead to the exodus of manufacturing in the first place?


Make university more financially attainable so more people can go and focus more on classes instead of getting shitty jobs to stay financially afloat. Increase funding to the sciences especially in public schools. Decrease class sizes. Pay teachers better. Stop treating universities like a business. They should be a public service. If you want society to be more educated, invest in that. Don’t treat students like consumers.