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Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity

PacoCheezdom Re:This is why (144 comments)

But if you bought them at the equator, you'd get a .6% discount! It's pay by weight, you know.

more than 2 years ago

Aging U-2 Will Fight On Into the Next Decade

PacoCheezdom Re:There's nothing to change (266 comments)

Please explain why a 747 from 1969 flies with the same engines and fuel, and takes the same time to fly the same distance at the same altitude as today?

Just about everything in that sentence is wrong.

A 747 from 1969 doesn't have the same engines as a modern 747, nor does it take the same time to fly the same distance. A 747-100 had a maximum range of 4500 NM, a top speed of mach .8 and burned fuel at an average rate of 15 970 kg / hr. The 747-400 which is currently in service has a base range of 6400 NM (and up to 8000 NM for the 747-ER, nearly double!), burns about half as much fuel per hour, and cruises at about mach .85. And the 747-400 was first introduced 30 years ago! I don't have the stats for the newest iteration, the 747-8i, but Boeing claims it will be "be 30% quieter, 16% more fuel-efficient, and have 13% lower seat-mile costs with nearly the same cost per trip" than the 400.

And that's without going into the increases in capacity, passenger comfort, and avionics that have happened in the past 50 years. This is just minor advancements on an old airframe; the biggest applications of advancements in materials science and aircraft design are for clean-sheet designs like the 787 or new military aircraft like drones.

The point of this article, though, is that the military-industrial complex's days of cozy, no-bid contracts and inflated vehicle costs are quickly coming to an end, not that we'll never be able to design better aircraft than Kelly Johnson's team did in the 1950s.

more than 2 years ago

Panasonic To Unveil New Helper Robots

PacoCheezdom Helper robots? (41 comments)

Are there stairs in your house?

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Calculators With 1-2-3 Number Pads?

PacoCheezdom The different layouts are kind of the point (393 comments)

Telephones and calculators (well, adding machines) have opposite layouts for a reason: slowing down the key presses on your phone. Try dialing a long number (like an account number) into automated phone tree on a phone quickly: a good cell phone will 'cache' the numbers and send out the DTMF sounds more slowly than your rapid keypresses. On a landline dialing too fast will often result in errors since they usually lack this feature.

You can read more about Bell/Western Electric's development of the telephone keypad here.

more than 3 years ago

Saving Gas Via Underpowered Death Traps

PacoCheezdom Re:Your kidding, right? (585 comments)

Yeah, that '59 Bel Air has a the infamous X-frame, which neither particularly resilient nor completely typical of old car design (which is the same as current SUV and pickup design).

The relevant issue that makes something a "death trap" is passenger cabin intrusion.

The Malibu, like all modern cars is designed to prevent cabin intrusion in an accident -- that is, parts of the car are designed so that if they are destroyed in an accident, they will not come into the cabin or damage its structural integrity.

That Bel Air has a solid metal steering wheel, steering column, and tiny narrow roof pillars. This makes the car look beautiful and evoke the classic styling of that era, but it does precisely nothing to protect the passenger cabin or the passengers in an accident. 1959 was the first year that seat belts were even offered as standard equipment on a Chevrolet!

The other thing that many do not realize is that both of those cars are in the same weight class, ~3500 pounds. Much of 1959's weight is in the sheet metal styling cues and chrome and heavy iron-block engine: the smallest engine available was the 3.8 liter 6-cylinder Blueflame (125 hp!). The Malibu, on the other hand, gains much more of its weight from passenger comfort and safety system: not only is the car itself much smaller, and has slighter body panels, but the largest engine, an all aluminum 3.6 liter 6-cylinder LY7 engine produces over a hundred more horsepower (252 hp), and weighs significantly less.

The only deathtraps on the road are the big old cars, and the trucks and SUVs which are patterned off of them mechanically.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Removes MySQL From Lion Server

PacoCheezdom Re:Much better anyway (303 comments)

Actually, Apple didn't even have a front-end for MySQL, either. They used to advise installing MyPhpAdmin. (bottom of that page) Really this is an advantage because now I won't have 2-3 installs of MySQL on my system anymore -- the default, rarely updated, Apple version, the more up-to-date version installed by Macports in /opt, and perhaps another version in MAMP or XAMPP if I want to test a web app or design a new site in a quasi-sandbox.

more than 3 years ago

How has your opinion on the safety of nuclear power changed after the events in Japan?

PacoCheezdom Re:Seems just as safe as ever... (1148 comments)

You're right, here in the US during the 80s we didn't have to put up with little anemic diesels puttering around in big vans and cabs and such, which I'm sure were an annoyance. But I wouldn't call them dreadful!

At least they weren't horribly-manufactured, minimally-tested, failure-prone diesel disasters like the 80s GM diesels that soured the US market to diesels. They are why, in part, demand for passenger car diesels is so low in the US even today.

more than 3 years ago

MPAA Threatens To Disconnect Google From Internet

PacoCheezdom Re:Whoopee (468 comments)

*I don't think GE's a member anymore, but it's impossible to know for certain how much of their revenue came just from NBC-Universal


Page 34 of GE's 2009 earnings report: Revenues, NBC Universal, $15,436,000,000; Segment Profit, NBC Universal, $2,264,000,000.

Yeah, it's impossible to know for certain that NBC-Universal made $2 billion in profit last year. Sony Pictures, by the way, collected ¥705,237,000,000 (~ $8 billion) in revenue for FY 2010, and only ¥42,814,000,000 (~ $519 million) in profit; Sony Pictures includes not only MPAA-relevant stuff but TV shows just like NBC-Universal. That's from SONY's annual earnings report, which is admittedly not the first Google result, but whatever, it wasn't that hard to find. (http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/ar/2010/index.html)

When you consider how little of Sony or GE's total revenues have to do with their movie-making divisions, and how much Google's revenues are based on Internet services supposedly threatened by these letters (practically all of Google's revenue) I think you can easily realize how much more money Google would be willing to spend on a fight than the MPAA. That is, if these angry letters Google received had any real meaning other than to try to scare the individuals who usually receive them.

more than 3 years ago

Arizona Trialing System That Lets Utility System Control Home A/Cs

PacoCheezdom Re:Maryland already has this (393 comments)

>>She simply dislikes the notion that the gov't could turn off her AC

Wow, I didn't realize that the California government had bought out Pacific Gas and Electric. Where'd they get the money for that?

more than 4 years ago

Court Rules Photo of Memorial Violates Copyright

PacoCheezdom Re:The postal service should just use the photo (426 comments)

The memorial that looks like Rosenthal's famous photograph of the flag being raised on Iwo Jima is the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington VA. This article is about the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC. I mean, I know that nobody reads the articles here but seriously the Iwo Jima battle wasn't even during the Korean War -- it was WWII.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Open Sources Grand Central Dispatch

PacoCheezdom Re:Use Cilk (342 comments)

You don't think that libdispatch will be very genial to widespread usage, as it has a lot of OS-specific calls, which is an understandable position to take. But as an alternative you offer something whose "only caveat" is that it needs an entirely different compiler to build. A compiler whose most recent activity dates from two years ago.

... How is that a superior alternative?

more than 5 years ago

Planck Telescope Is Coolest Spacecraft Ever

PacoCheezdom Re:rabit from the moon (196 comments)

Aztek folklore? That must be some prety brutally ugly stuff right there.

more than 5 years ago

Klingons Cut From Final Star Trek XI Movie

PacoCheezdom Re:Travesty? (447 comments)

"Neither, sir. 1920s gangsters."

more than 5 years ago

Stephen Hawking Is "Very Ill" In Hospital

PacoCheezdom Re:Decades Lost (413 comments)

So is science about scientists, or about the new understandings of things which are generated?

Certainly, Professor Hawking has made significant contributions to physics and astronomy, and his ability to do so while his ability to communicate became increasingly handicapped has been an inspiration to people. However, no matter how brilliant or inspirational he is, he's just one man. If science really still is about expanding human knowledge dispassionately, then others who are just as experienced but lesser known can just as easily come forward and help to understand the implications of the LHC results just as well as Hawking.

more than 5 years ago

US Electricity Grid Reportedly Penetrated By Spies

PacoCheezdom Re:Remember, folks... (328 comments)

When a ballistic missle submarine 1000 feet under the ocean is interpreting orders to nuke some foreign country do they depend on being able to reach some particular person to ask questions?

Yes, actually. He's called the President.

more than 5 years ago

"Nuclear Archaeology" Inspires Replica of Hiroshima's Little Boy

PacoCheezdom Re:How soon until... (298 comments)

Well, it's a little steeper than a fine, but I still think it's pretty funny that there's a state law for this:

11418. (a) (1) Any person, without lawful authority, who possesses, develops, manufactures, produces, transfers, acquires, or retains any weapon of mass destruction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 8, or 12 years.

(California Penal Code)

about 6 years ago

Frozen Mice Cloned

PacoCheezdom Re:That juicy t-bone steak (272 comments)

Actually, cloning dead beef is remarkably easy:

# ifconfig eth0 down hw ether 00:00:de:ad:be:ef
# ifconfig eth0 up

Of course, if you're cloning dead beef on a BSD machine or a mac, the syntax is a little different but it's the same idea. How to easily clone dead beef on a windows machine -- well that's still a serious area of research.

more than 6 years ago



Robot Swarms invade Kentucky

PacoCheezdom PacoCheezdom writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PacoCheezdom writes "Intelligent Life has short summary of a demonstration by MIT professor James McLurkin of his new group-minded robots, which run an operating system called "Swarm OS." The robots are able to work together as a group not by communicating with all members of the group at once, but by talking only to their neighbors, and model other similar behaviors performed by bees and ants. I for one welcome our new robotic pseudo-insect overlords."
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