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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Aviation Pete Re:Still sounds like early flight... (66 comments)

I'm still reminded of what I've read about the Wright Brother's attempts at powered flight, up against dozens of other teams, some with national support.

What is that bullshit about "dozens of other teams"? You obviously spout misinformed nonsense - the only opponent with some national support was Langley. All others (Whitehead, Santos-Dumont, Ellehammer, whoever) paid their work out of their own pocket. But at least they laid all their results open and did not try to sue everyone else on the planet like these trolls from Dayton, OH.

5 hours ago

What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

Aviation Pete Re:Meanwhile... (578 comments)

For example, in programming, most languages simply don't allow me to use Icelandic characters in variable and function names.

Try Swift. You can even use emoticons as variables, if you so desire. I wouldn't be sure if that is an improvement, though.

about three weeks ago

First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January

Aviation Pete Re:Why the 1st model starts at -800? (65 comments)

It's the same reason why the A-380 did not become the A-350. 350 would have been the next number in the sequence.

The reason is Chinese superstition. 8 is a lucky number in Chinese, because the sign for 8 shows two triangles pointing up. By the way, 4 is considered an unlucky number in China because it sounds similar to the word for death. Since most customers for both Airbus and Boeing are assumed to be in East Asia, their marketing departments put eights into their newest products wherever they can. The newest version of the 747 is called 747-8.

Do you spot a pattern?

about a month ago

How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market

Aviation Pete and how did ice get to the Far East? (83 comments)

on their way to China at the end of winter, the Tea Clippers would bring ice, insulated in straw, to India where it was stored in ice pits for the British to cool their food in summer. There were even recognized brands of ice from Scottish or Norwegian lakes with exceptionally clean water.

This would have been News for Nerds 180 years ago.

about a month ago

Particle Physics To Aid Nuclear Cleanup

Aviation Pete They can't pass through everything ... (35 comments)

... or they couldn't be detectable. In order to measure muons, they need to interact with the instruments, which are clearly part of earth. This alone shows that most of the summary is bunk. Muons can very well damage the materials they pass through.

As usual, please do not use Slashdot summaries for your physics education.

about 5 months ago

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Aviation Pete Re:What a bunch of Wuss (579 comments)

If Germany had just grabbed their "lebensraum" and stopped they probably could have kept it.

Nonsense. From the start, Britain would accept nothing but unconditional surrender by Germany. They kept the flames burning by expanding the war to Norway and Greece, helped by the Italians who opened new fronts in Albania and North Africa. Germany and most likely Hitler, too, never wanted the big war which followed. In fact, Germany tried to negotiate for peace as early as late 1939. The flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain was one of many attempts at negotiations. They would have stopped if only the Allied had allowed them to stop.

about 5 months ago

Comcast Confessions

Aviation Pete Re:Gives an interesting look.... (234 comments)

When their greed trumps even the most basic tact and professionalism, how can anyone in their right mind expect us to believe that the best thing for everyone is to let them run amok unchallenged and unregulated with a virtual monopoly? It boggles the mind.

It's the army of lobbyists in DC, these are the ones who want to make our elected representatives believe that. And they are quite good at it. What you and me believe is completely irrelevant.

about 6 months ago

3D-Printed Material Can Carry 160,000 Times Its Own Weight

Aviation Pete This is not really new (60 comments)

for those who know 3D printing well. The new aspect is the precision of the printer, which allows to make those structures on a micro scale, but the basic technique has been used for over a decade to save material in big-volume articles.

Fruth Innovative Technologien has developed an algorithm to fill large volumes with such a scaffolding quickly. This speeds up building time and saves on the precious sinter powder, and yes, the scaffolding is very strong for its weight. They do this for more than a decade now. And now a MIT professor comes up with the same idea, and it is presented as a breakthrough. MIT marketing at work.

about 7 months ago

Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups

Aviation Pete That's normal (103 comments)

From the article:

the biggest hiccups were very localized and unpredictable.

What a surprise.

The things you anticipate are those that you predicted and prepared for. It is always the unpredicted ones which cause hiccups.

In the end, you cannot prepare for all eventualities, but you must budget for a number of them that will hit you, even when you cannot say precisely in advance what or when they will be. If you don't, your project will come in late and over budget.

about 8 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Killer Machines

Aviation Pete We will be doomed if they start to self-replicate (222 comments)

... because then a parallel evolution will start, but the robots will have much more potential to evolve than we. Sooner or later, imperfect copies will cause a higher reproduction rate, and sooner or later we will compete for the same resources. The ones with the highest reproduction rate will crowd out all others over the long term. When that happens, we humans better find a role in which we are valuable to those robots. Or we will become history.

about 8 months ago

DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

Aviation Pete Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

such as hold back the stick in a stall (Air France)

True, but not the cause for the crash.

Yes, the pilots were the cause for the crash. They even made remarks about the unusual attitude. The situation was obvious, and their ignorance and lack of competence was staggering. Just because the automation was switched off due to an iced probe does not mean the automation is to blame. Ask pilots why they think themselves to be indispensable, and you get some airy stuff on the line of "catch mistakes in the systems that nobody foresaw". And yet, when exactly this happens, they did actively, but unwittingly, do their utmost to crash the airplane in circumstances when continuing the flight uneventfully would have been the by far most likely outcome.

about 9 months ago

How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

Aviation Pete Why research - there is plenty of data already (392 comments)

Look at the Pacific and check how big populations on remote islands have to be to stay healthy (Easter Island for example). From that, 10.000 looks much more realistic than 500.

But there is another problem which has not been addressed: Keeping or even raising the technological level of this population. Even a population of 10.000 will be very small in this respect. Evidence: The early inhabitants of Tasman Island arrived by boat and knew how to make arrows and such, but their descendants lost all that know-how. Sure, writing it down will help, but if you need to quickly expand your knowledge (for fighting new pathogens, for example), an isolated population of 10.000 humans will not be enough.

Looking things up in a book is not enough, practice is needed as well. There are plenty of skills which had been developed earlier in the last century which now have been lost for the most part (think of analogue control as an example), even in a population of 6 billion people.

about 10 months ago

Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

Aviation Pete Re:Forbit all HFT (246 comments)

Better yet, how about a tiny tiny tax on each trade?

That ist exactly what needs to be done. In engineering terms: Increase damping. This will reduce oscillations and calm things down.

about 10 months ago

Hacking Charisma

Aviation Pete Re:Here's the key phrase (242 comments)

It's almost as if most executives have no fucking idea what they're doing...

Very astute observation on your part. They really don't know, but they have a knack for making everyone believe they knew. A total disregard for honesty is very helpful to be effective in doing this, as is ignorance in their audience.

... and that is not so different to what the speaker is doing. Making everyone believe he knew all the secrets. And the executives are dumb enough so it works. It really is this simple.

about 9 months ago

Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

Aviation Pete Guess who is replacing the low wage workers: YOU! (870 comments)

Most of the low wage jobs have been / will be replaced by some self-service arrangement, and computerization will make it possible. Just think of the shop clerks which won't be needed when most selling is done online. Or the bank clerks - ATMs have replaced most already. Or the travel agents - online booking has made most obsolete already.

Thinking of some 1:1 replacement of a human with a human-shaped machine is too simple. The replacement will be of outdated, job-heavy business models with self-service models.

about 10 months ago

Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

Aviation Pete Re:Oh the humanity! (66 comments)

Although, to be fair, zeppelin safety has improved tremendously.

Before WW I, Zeppelins had a spotless safety record, having flown thousands of passengers in hundreds of flights. Only when the military came in did accidents happen. See Wikipedia list of airship accidents

If the same standards that grounded Zeppelins after the Hindenburg accident had been applied to aircraft, civilian heavier-than-air passenger transportation would never have taken off.

about 10 months ago

Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

Aviation Pete Re:Ooh (66 comments)

The older versions of that thing included free skydive from a fireball .

Actually, the older version of *this* thing is called Zeppelin NT and flies now for about 20 years all around the Lake Constance region. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_NT

about 10 months ago

Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

Aviation Pete Re:Name suggestions? (66 comments)

Ze Hindenburg in spandex . With ze helium

The Hindenburg was designed for helium, but had to use hydrogen because of an US monopoly of helium in combination with an acute attack of envy which resulted in a boycott. The rest is (well known) history ...

about 10 months ago

Is Weev Still In Jail Because the Government Doesn't Understand What Hacking Is?

Aviation Pete Re:No. (246 comments)

The broken dynamic is the fault of corporates and governments, not 'hackers.'

Let's be more specific. It's the fault of lawyers. There are many decent people in corps and governments, and even decent lawyers, but the bad ones poison the well for all others.

about 10 months ago

Metadata and the Intrusive State

Aviation Pete Re:And if (66 comments)

They had directed all that human effort towards making a better country for their citizens .. and making better cars ..

They had not much of a choice. Remember, this was a puppet regime, closely controlled and directed by their Soviet Russian masters. In 1953, the GDR was the first of several Soviet-bloc countries to rebel (after that, in 1956 Hungary and in 1968 the Czech Republic went similarly "astray"), so control and supervision was doubled for the next decades. Only under Gorbatchev things lightened up, but by then the (by then really old) old guard was too much set in their ways to relax or reform anything.

about a year ago



BIC announces tablets with handwriting

Aviation Pete Aviation Pete writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Aviation Pete (252403) writes "BIC, the pen, razor and lighter company, announced today their Education tablet and stylus. It is a simple and innovative educational solution for primary school, combining handwriting and digital technology. It includes educational software designed for and with teachers. Teachers can create adapted educational material and at the same time maintain control of their class. The entire solution is made in France."
Link to Original Source


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