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Given Truth, the Misinformed Believe Lies More

iron spartan Re: Because... (961 comments)

Europeans still have a lot of the old feudal influences left in their culture. And one of the biggest holdovers from that era is "Don't question your betters."

Those of "common decent" are far more willing to be told what to do than to try and take the lead themselves. Makes Europe easier to organize, for both good and bad.

more than 4 years ago

The Best Robots of 2009

iron spartan Ok, I want one. (51 comments)

The Adept Quatro was very impressive. I'd love to see the vision system that it was using and will have to show that vid to my employer to see if I can get them to buy one.

If there is a breakthrough in portable power generation, then we will see an explosion in mobile robotics development.

more than 4 years ago

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them

iron spartan Re:Here's a thought (233 comments)

That isn't as effective as you would think. Body language is a huge give away. Women in a burqa with a full veil are very submissive, they look down at almost all times when in public. Men trying to pass as women in a burqa have a hard time copying this. Woman may look up, but if you make eye contact, the look down in a hurry and will not look up again. Men have a tendency to not only look up, but to glare if eye contact is made. Its a dead giveaway.

And we caught one insurgent who's beard started poking out from under the veil.

more than 4 years ago

Somali Pirates Open Up a "Stock Exchange"

iron spartan Re:Paging Bernie Madoff Clients... (666 comments)

Many nations will not allow a ship with private weapons into port. The right to self defense is not universal.

A work around could be to have ship outside the harbor that you could drop your weapons or armed guards into before coming into port. IANAL so I don't even know if this would be legal.

Picking up armed guards for the dangerous part of the trip might be a better option. Having a pick up/drop off point along a major shipping routes in the red sea and one in international waters on the eastern side would work. Again, not a lawyer.

And a RPG is not going to be able to sink a large cargo ship. Could it punch a hole in the hull? Yes, not a big enough one to overwhelm the bilge pumps.

more than 4 years ago

Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops

iron spartan Price and Care (264 comments)

It couldn't be because they are cheap and small that Netbooks are more likely to get abused than their high dollar counterparts?

I know that I don't take near as good of care of my $300 netbook as I do of my $2000 laptop.

more than 4 years ago

Response To California's Large-Screen TV Regulation

iron spartan Re:Just cut us off already (619 comments)

So in your opinion, the solution is a totalitarian government that has the power and authority to dictate all resource use to the populace?

more than 4 years ago

Response To California's Large-Screen TV Regulation

iron spartan Re:Hilarious (619 comments)

Can we call it a "theft deterrent system" and get people to pay more for TV's with 100 lbs of weight in the bottom?

more than 4 years ago

Android Goes To the Battlefield

iron spartan I'll wait for the field trials (128 comments)

It sounds good, but then again so did Land Warrior.

I can see it being useful in an urban environment, but can see a lot of issues with it in the mountains of Afghanistan. First being connectivity. Relying on a cell network in a 3rd world country doesn't seem like all that good of an idea. Getting a reliable signal in the mountains is hard as it is. It would be very bad for a unit to get used to using this system, and then get somewhere that it no longer works.

Second problem is EM signature. Cell phones broadcast as long as they are on. In urban areas, with lots of cell phones this isn't all that big of deal. In areas with very low populations, a cell phone being on can easily give away a platoons position. Frequency hoping helps with this on regular military radios and cell phones can't do this.

more than 4 years ago

Ultracapacitor Bus Recharges At Each Stop

iron spartan Re:Until... (419 comments)

From working with industrial automation, I can tell you that trying to synchronize motion between two independently controlled electric motors, with independent loads, is a nightmare. With modern control hardware we are getting better, but we are not there yet. In 1995, I sure that the could make it look good for some tests, but there was no control system fast enough or smart enough to handle it.

Without even looking at the automotive side, i would kill to have a system that can manage multiple electric motors with rapidly changing load conditions for long periods of time without freaking out. The possibilities for material handling systems and machine tending systems make me drool.

It was killed because Detroit couldn't make it work. The idea of wheel mounted motors gets kicked around a lot, because it does have a lot of merits, but there are too many technical problems that need to be worked out yet before it becomes viable.

more than 4 years ago

How a Team of Geeks Cracked the Spy Trade

iron spartan ECHELON (187 comments)

So is this a civilian version of ECHELON? Or a tool to sort through all the data that ECHELON collects?

about 5 years ago

British Company Takes Lead To Stop Asteroids

iron spartan Re:Bad science (198 comments)

A gravity tractor sounds good in theory, but how do you propose to move something that has enough mass to shift the path of a asteroid a significant amount?

Two 75 ton steel spheres placed an inch apart have an attractive force about the weight of a mosquito. 150 tons is about half the mass of the international space station.

So how massive would a gravity tractor have to be to deflect a small, 1 ton asteroid if it has to be even 1 foot away from the asteroid? And how much fuel would it take to place it next to a small asteroid approaching at 15,000 kph? After that, how much fuel would it take to get it back so it could be used again?

about 5 years ago

British Company Takes Lead To Stop Asteroids

iron spartan Gotta find them first (198 comments)

All this relies on finding said asteroid years if not decades out.

I can't confirm, but I remember hearing that between NASA and all the other space agencies we track less than 20% of space inside of Jupiter's orbit. A large dark asteroid out of the Kuiper Belt could be closing on us right now and we wouldn't see it until months before impact, too late to do anything about it.

IMHO, lets work on finding and tracking large asteroids first.

about 5 years ago

India's First Stealth Fighter To Fly In 4 Months

iron spartan Re:Saw it Coming (611 comments)

Anti air is not my specialty. Picking up stealth fighters with current radar systems is not the problem. Picking them up before they have a chance to launch HARM's is.

We have radar arrays capable of tracking artillery rounds from quite a distance. But its my understanding that these arrays tend to be large, heavy, and have short duty cycles. They aren't suitable for active tracking of a live target as the emitters would burn out before a missile could reach an incoming air craft. Anti-Air radar arrays tend to be the first targets of any aggressor force, for good reason.

Without ground based radar to assist, there is only radar mounted on the aircraft to deal with. Add 2 stealth fighters, who can't get a reliable radar lock on one another and its back to dog fighting.

about 5 years ago

Emergency Government Control of the Internet?

iron spartan Re:One more nail in the coffin.... (853 comments)

Need a running mate?

Add term limits for all elected and appointed federal positions, all single issue bill must be posted for public viewing for at least 7 days before a vote, and no appointee can hold any position of authority without senate confirmation (anti czar bill). Hard to argue against a platform like that.

about 5 years ago

Working Off the Clock, How Much Is Too Much?

iron spartan Re:Where do I begin (582 comments)

My simple solution?
I refused my last promotion to an exempt position, instead staying a technician. I do engineering level work, with engineering responsibilities, but technician pay. Thing is, while my "per hour" may be lower, my total pay is nearly the same, because engineers are "always on" and I get OT.
Further I can bail after 8 hours and no one can bitch about it. Overall it's a better deal than people realize. Once my kids get older I may take a promo, but not till then.

Same here. I'm in an engineering position, but stayed a technician to avoid the whole salary issue. I don't mind putting in a little over time here and there when its needed. My specialties are industrial tech, robots, PLC's, CNC's and so on. One things that I get iron clad in my employment contract is Called/Call In pay. Basically what it works out to is that if my employer has to call me on my time, it cost them 2 hours pay. It doesn't matter if I've got the issue fixed in 5 minutes, I get paid 2 hours. If I have to come to the plant, it cost them 4 hours plus my time there. Its a great thing, means that I don't get bothered unless its important.

If I was salary, I'd lose that pay. And with the overtime I put in, I make more than the engineers who are working right along side me.

more than 5 years ago

Finding New and Unintended Ways of Playing Games

iron spartan BOOM! (346 comments)

Destructible environments are my downfall. I have spent hours blowing everything I can up, just because.

more than 5 years ago

California Student Arrested For Console Hacking

iron spartan Re:US of A (1016 comments)

The actual quote is "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"

Lets see, government take over of the banks, government take over the auto industry, treasury secretary empowered to take over any corporation who's failure my threaten the economy...

Nope, don't see it happening here.

more than 5 years ago

London's Robotic Fire Brigade

iron spartan Re:Same platform different end-effectors (82 comments)

Depends on what you mean by known obstacles. A fixed obstacle, maybe. That would be defined usually as an boundary in the work envelope and some systems can find there own way around them. Material handling systems, like an automated palletizing system, may have a support structure in the work envelope to work around. For the most part, its a good idea to keep the work envelope as free of obstructions as possible.

If its a mobile object, like part of a weld fixture, then no. If you tell the robot to move from point A to point B, it will try to move from point A to point B regardless of what is in the way. Its the programmers job to work the robot around obstacles.

more than 5 years ago

London's Robotic Fire Brigade

iron spartan Re:Same platform different end-effectors (82 comments)

I've been programming, repairing, and designing end effectors for industrial robots for about 10 years now. Here's a real quick and simple example of how robots make decisions.

When you program an industrial robot, you position the end effector in a particular point in space, program that point, then position the end effector in another point and then give it a command on how you want it to move there: straight line, arc, air cut, etc.

What I don't have to do is determine the speed and encoder count shift needed for each individual servo motor (axis) on the robot. The internal logic of the robot does that. On a standard 6 axis robot, it would take hours to program a single straight line if you had to program a path for each servo motor. I tried it in school once, never again.

more than 5 years ago


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