Podcast: Solar Road to Nowhere

Posted by on May 25th, 2014

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Brian’s daughter reviews Godzilla. The Boys take down the idea of solar roads. Are we defending science or scoring touchdowns? You decide! Also, did a cat shut down LAX?



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4 Responses to “Podcast: Solar Road to Nowhere”

  1. Yellow King Says:

    I can speak for the entire state of Minnesota when I say that we would give our collective left nut to not have to deal with the cost and inconvenience of snow and ice removal. Dream a little bit, wouldja boys?

  2. JustinRYoung Says:

    But what if the future is more expensive and less efficient? In hindsight, and actually watching the video, I am pumped to see the tech in driveways and parking lots. I want to see how effective it is in real work situations.

  3. Yellow King Says:

    I think it would be fascinating to see the “Tron world” depicted in the hype video, but I am under no illusion that this tech will be ever exploited to that extent. It certainly might be possible, however, to utilize the cells in limited areas for specialized purposes.

    I also agree with Andrew’s concern about the system’s dependability wrt depicting lane lines, etc. (although his comment about drivers potentially having wait in their cars until someone from the highway department arrived to “turn the road back on” seemed unnecessarily bitchy…geez, Andrew.) But historically, most technologies have felt tenuous and unreliable in the early expensive-and-impractical development/concept stage. For example, probably nobody envisioned the eventual cost-effectiveness and practicality of manufacturing and installing a nationwide fiber optic data network in the early 1960s.

    I think we can all agree that the cheapest and most utilitarian version of any technology is usually the most inspiring– I know I feel a special kind of awe and wonder when I see a well-rolled piece of bituminous asphalt. But seriously, if the cost of these units could be reduced (which would be expected with mass production) and their durability assured (dicey, but hey– let’s give them a shot in less demanding environments first), maybe we could make this system work for some specialized and wicked-kewl applications.

    You guys mentioned that you don’t have much experience with winter roads. Just FYI, Minnesota spent $81 million for snow/ice removal in 2010-2011; plus the cost of lost work hours in stop-and-go commuting; plus cost of damage to roadways and vehicles from the 268,000 tons of salt and 2.5 million gallons of brine deployed; plus the cost of 857,000 labor work-hours; plus the lost lives. Certainly that pales in comparison to the initial cost of installing solar highways, but I think all the possible advantages to such a system need to be part of the cost/benefit analysis.

    Because no one can predict the future, and because we never seem to get the tech we were promised (robot maids, etc.), I honestly don’t think these hexagons (in their existing form, anyway) will be the answer to our roadway and energy problems. But you know what? I gave them a few bucks anyway, just to see what they could do with the idea. Why? Because it’s been a long time since I saw people get really excited about funding imaginative science/tech research/development– and it just made me feel all warm and gooey inside.

  4. Alex Murdoch Says:

    Bought the Game of Thrones Popup book 5 minutes ago on Amazon Canada for $39.97. Can’t wait to get it!