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Comments

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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 a month ago
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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 a month and a half ago
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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 a month and a half ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"

Aviation Pete Depends on the Subject (497 comments)

Many subjects claim to be scientific, but few of them allow to have a base of practically settled laws which is expanded at the fringes. Look at economics: Every time there is a new "law" announced, the economy adapts and changes accordingly to disprove the "law" down the road. A generation ago the perceived wisdom was that unemployment and inflation run against each other. Now we know this is bunk. But economists are too vain to accept that their subject cannot be like Physics or Mathematics. This "real science" envy makes them claim to be scientists, which harms the concept because the public just goes " oohh, see, another scientific law has turned out to be wrong. All science must be wrong".

Contrast this with the scientific method: This can be applied widely. But do not confuse a solid body of science like in physics with something that changes when being observed. Unfortunately, envy and the limitations of language (add to this the missing understanding in much of what is published) conspire to make real science look bad in the public eye.

about 5 months ago
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Dead Reckoning For Your Car Eliminates GPS Dead Zones

Aviation Pete Re:Inertial Navigation - not dead reckoning (151 comments)

If it looses contact with the satellite it is pretty much just plain lost, now throw in a fairly accurate gyro and set of accelerometers and when the satellite signal goes bye bye you flip over to inertial navigation which can be made pretty accurate since given the fact that cars generally stay on known roads you can then perform path inference based upon the on board map so that if the inertial system seems to think you are driving through a building the system can correct itself by looking at where it has been and put you position back on the road where you should be.

Correct in principle, but drift will kill your signal within a few seconds when you rely on the current crop of MEMS for this. Remember, you need to integrate *twice* to get from acceleration to position, and any noise will grow the position error exponentially. If you go with aircraft grade accels, be prepared to spend more than the price of your car for a decent system. This will be precise enough to keep you on track for a few hours, but don't expect this to be part of your next car's nav system anytime soon. DARPA is looking into improved MEMS for this, but it will take many years before this trickles down to a consumer nav system.

about 6 months ago
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Black Death Predated 'Small World' Effect, Say Network Theorists

Aviation Pete Look at tourism (168 comments)

the small world effect is possible by low cost and fast transportation. The same holds true for tourism. So the intrepid British explorers who started early in the 18th century to roam all across Europe are the first indicators of this change. Look how old Thomas Cook (the company) is (Link: http://www.thomascook.com/thomas-cook-history/)

about 9 months ago
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The Memo That Spawned Microsoft Research

Aviation Pete Re:Microsoft then and now (148 comments)

Diversity. This was when Windows NT 3.1 was about to be released and it supported DEC Alpha as well as MIPS CPU's.

Diversity was never in favor at MS. They were forced to support DEC Alpha. The NT team had been recruited straight from DEC, and when DEC complained, MS agreed to support Alpha with their new OS. Which did not prevent DEC from wasting the opportunity they had with Alpha, but this is a different story. See http://www.bolenk.com/computer/history-of-windows-nt.php

about 10 months ago
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The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

Aviation Pete Re:Independence of the courts ? (234 comments)

Judges back then were chosen based on merits. Judges today are chosen based on who they know.

or maybe the are simply incapable to understand the issue. Back then, a patent had one or two pages and described a (mostly mechanical) issue in simple language. Lawyers today make sure that a patent is minimum 50 pages, and some run to more than 1000. The language is extremely formalized and very hard to read for untrained minds. And the issues are so specialized that the average judge would have to train several years in the particular field to understand what the invention is about.

Besides - most patents today have most of their innovation in the way the lawyers complicate simple issues. Sigh.

about 10 months ago
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Former Lockheed Skunkworks Engineer Auctioning a Prototype "Spy Rock"

Aviation Pete That sale isn't targeted at you and me (119 comments)

I guess he wants the people who screwed him to buy in order to keep the contents of the CD secret. Then he probably wants to settle out of court.

Will be interesting to see if there is really someone who buys before the auction ends. In effect, he/she will fund the legal campaign of his/her opponent ...

about a year ago
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Steve Ballmer's Big-Time Error: Not Resigning Years Ago

Aviation Pete They should appoint Elops (357 comments)

would be good for Nokia to get rid of him and Microsoft will continue it's journey into irrelevance. Double Bonus!

about a year ago

Submissions

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BIC announces tablets with handwriting

Aviation Pete Aviation Pete writes  |  about 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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