×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

michelcolman Re:Missed the obvious... (231 comments)

That only exists in the movies :-)

Since the aircraft needs to be pressurized, the number of hatches to get in and out of the cabin is limited as much as possible. This avoids depressurization through leaking or damaged hatches. Some long haul aircraft have a large electronics bay with access from both inside and outside, but on most aircraft you can only get into the cabin via the doors.

yesterday
top

Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

michelcolman Re:Missed the obvious... (231 comments)

Depends on the aircraft type. In the main wheel bay of an A330 you can easily fit a whole family, since the bay is the same size as that of an A340 which has an extra body gear. Some aircraft also have versions with or without an extra fuel tank in the belly, and that space is usually wide open if this extra fuel tank isn't installed.

In one company I used to fly for, someone had flown multiple legs in an A330's wheel bay before his body was finally found when someone noticed a strange smell... According to the report I read, he might have survived the first leg from Africa but remained unconscious and then died on the second leg. I don't remember after how many flights he was finally found.

2 days ago
top

Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

michelcolman Re:Designer babies (155 comments)

When you look at communism, you can just look at the result (failed economies, empty shelves) to see how bad an idea it was.

When we look at the arguments against eugenics, they are always about how it was done, not about any results. People were sterilized or killed based on some perceived abnormality or inferiority, it was extremely crude and inhuman, I completely agree. But all those arguments disappear if we do things in a more modern way while respecting human dignity, using today's technology. Unlike communism, where it's hard to imagine a method that might actually work.

If you understand anything about evolution, it is quite clear that the human genome will tend to degenerate thanks to the comfort of modern civilisation. I'm not talking about things like intelligence (because apparently that's one area where evolution is sill alive and kicking, intelligent people being more attractive contrary to what has often been feared), but look at our senses (sight, smell, hearing), physical strength and endurance, resistance to diseases, etcetera. Our genome gets bombarded with random changes all the time, and natural selection isn't weeding out the bad changes (which are the vast majority of all mutations). We do all we can to help people overcome their defects, lead a normal life, and reproduce. Which is great, but it does mean that in the long term we will need some other mechanism to replace natural evolution. Because evolution is not just necessary to evolve a better lifeform, it's also necessary to keep it from degenerating.

Moles evolved from some kind of rat that probably had very good eyes, yet after thousands of generations moles are as good as blind because nearly blind moles have exactly the same chance of reproducing as moles with better eyes. The same is happening to us. Old-style eugenics would simply say "ok, let's sterilize all people with bad eyes, then". Today we can just say "hey, we found the cause of your bad eyesight, it's a mutation in this gene, and we can make sure your children don't inherit it". Or even replace the bad genes with a better version. What's wrong with that?

If we don't do this at some point, we will constantly need to improve all our medical techniques to fix all the defects people have been inheriting. Babies will hardly ever be born without needing immediate medical attention after birth, because we can't allow mother nature to kill the bad genes.

Wouldn't it be better to just start the next phase of evolution by taking things into our own hands? Natural selection, which is cruel and indiscriminate, has all but disappeared for us, and that's a good thing because we can do much better than that now. But we'll have to actually do that some time.

4 days ago
top

Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

michelcolman Re:@medv4380 - Re:Designer babies (155 comments)

So what? Look at how many different kinds of dogs there are, and that's even without genetic manipulation. Why not have the same diversity in humans? Some with eagle eyes (from the genome of actual eagles), some with different colors (hell, we've got that already to some degree), why do all humans have to look like "God created them"?

OK, we may have to set up some rules to keep things from getting ridiculous, but I don't agree with this fear of "oh, my god, we must not mess with the Lord's creation!". There's plenty of opportunities for improvement in the human genome.

4 days ago
top

Bookies Predict the Future of Tech

michelcolman Re:But do you want it? (50 comments)

Also, how do I actually invest in SpaceX? Or just in Google Glass, which is a tiny fragment of GOOGL?

4 days ago
top

DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

michelcolman Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

This is one of the most often repeated misunderstandings in aviation: the vast majority of crashes is caused by pilots, so we should replace them with automation since that's much more reliable. Errr... no, not by a long shot.

The vast majority of crashes is due to pilot error because the vast majority of possible crashes due to equipment failures are prevented by the pilots. I am a pilot, have never been in a crash, but have had several autopilot and other failures where, if we had not intervened, the aircraft would have crashed. But of course, all those possible crashes due to equipment failures don't make it into the statistics because no actual crash occurred. It's merely a note in the company's safety magazine for crews (along with dozens of others each month). So when an aircraft does crash (even if it's due to equipment failure), it's usually still considered the pilots' fault, and correctly so, because they should have been able to prevent it.

Take the Turkish Airlines that crashed in Amsterdam. Due to a radio altimeter failure during an automatic approach, the aircraft thought it was directly above the runway and pulled the throttles back, while in fact it was still several hundred feet above the ground. Most crews would have seen the speed decreasing (and indeed, this kind of incident had happened many times before to other crews without causing a crash) but this crew reacted much too late and "caused" the airplane to crash.

Or take the Air France that crashed after the pitot tubes froze up. The automation actually failed so the pilots had to take over. Without pilots, the airplane would have crashed anyway. And here, too, this kind of incident had already happened to other crews multiple times, but each time the crew had handled the situation correctly (even though it was not something that was trained in the simulator or accurately described in the procedures). This time the crew did not handle it correctly, in part because they were confused by conflicting warning messages from the airplane's systems telling them the plane was overspeeding and stalling at the same time. They even got aural warnings when they started to, temporarily, apply the exact correction they needed to meke. The automation was not helping them, but actually working against them and telling them they were wrong when they were, in fact, right.

If you want to have an idea of how reliable automation is, just look at the number of military drones that have crashed so far. Their mission couldn't be simpler: take off, fly over some area, come back and land. They only fly in relatively nice weather, there are vaslty less drones than passenger aircraft, yet there are many more drone crashes than passenger aircraft crashes.

It's certainly a good thing that Darpa is trying to make aircraft automation more reliable, but right now pilots are still by far the most important asset for the safety of an airplane.

4 days ago
top

Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

michelcolman Re:PISA Results (431 comments)

Just wait until the pupils affected by the change are old enough to actually take the PISA test.

about two weeks ago
top

Private Keys Stolen Within Hours From Heartbleed OpenSSL Site

michelcolman Re:I can't use cloudflare, connection is insecure (151 comments)

In Safari on my Mac, I got a warning saying the security certificate could not be verified, and I could choose to simply continue. So then I got the text saying I shouldn't be able to see that site. Shouldn't the browser have actually said the security certificate had been revoked?

about two weeks ago
top

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

michelcolman Re:Mathemathical proof (610 comments)

Exactly. Maybe I'll believe it when I see an actual universe.

about two weeks ago
top

Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

michelcolman Re:Phones yeah (227 comments)

Come on, why would you need 00 gauge charge cables? Just use wireless recharging!

about two weeks ago
top

Five-Year-Old Uncovers Xbox One Login Flaw

michelcolman Re:$300? (196 comments)

Obviously it's an NSA backdoor.

about three weeks ago
top

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

michelcolman Re:People need to start with the scale (392 comments)

The fastest spacecraft we built never got anywhere close to light speed. If we can somehow figure out how to get to those speeds, the univers will shrink through Lorentz contraction and, in theory, it's perfectly possible to get to another galaxy in a few hundred years. Years measured on board, that is. Of course for earth many thousands (or millions) of years will have passed.

about three weeks ago
top

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

michelcolman Re:The playa exit is not the problem. (273 comments)

That's exactly what I thought, why don't they all just wait until everyone's gone?

about three weeks ago
top

P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

michelcolman Re:Say what? (199 comments)

But what if nature is running on a quantum computer?

about three weeks ago
top

P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

michelcolman Re:Say what? (199 comments)

You mean Nature, the journal?

about three weeks ago
top

P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

michelcolman Re:Computable? Simulatable? (199 comments)

They'll just restart it from a recent backup and we'll never even know it happened. If you were to start your life again yesterday, without remembering anything from yesterday or today, the whole world including your mind restored exactly to the state it was in yesterday, then time would appear uninterrupted. So if you keep trying to generate bus errors which keep getting fixed with a reboot/restore, it will appear that none of the experiments worked and you might conclude that the universe is not a simulation. In fact, there's no way these bus error experiments would ever result in anyone concluding it is a simulation.

about three weeks ago
top

China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

michelcolman Re:As they should... (100 comments)

And then that person gets arrested and tells the police where he got the coins from.

about three weeks ago
top

China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

michelcolman Re:As they should... (100 comments)

Yes, you might make a list of all bills, where they were last spent, and try to make a pattern out of that to find the bad guy. Indeed, this technique often succeeds. But compare that to "bills" that have a record on them of every transaction ever made with them. Wouldn't you agree that that is more traceable? I never said cash is completely untraceable, I'm just saying it's wrong to say that bitcoin is untraceable when in fact it is much easier to trace than cash. I'm sure the NSA absolutely loves bitcoin.

about three weeks ago
top

China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

michelcolman Re:The Sky is falling! (100 comments)

Look at the longer term chart, and look at how similar the current drop is to the drop that occurred about a year ago. Make sure you take a logarithmic chart to see the similarity. It went from $250 down to less than $50, up and down again a few times, then up to $1000 several months later. If you bought at the peak exactly one year ago, you would still have a very nice profit today.

So what if it went from $1000 back to $400? Given the history of the prices, that's peanuts. Last year was much worse.

about three weeks ago
top

China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

michelcolman Re:As they should... (100 comments)

I would venture that the bitcoins will be easier to trace and find than the dollars/yens/whatevers. They may be in some unidentifiable wallet, but as soon as someone uses them to buy something, those bitcoins can be traced back to the illegal transactions. They may have used all kinds of trickery to disguise the transfers, but that's actually harder to do with bitcoins than with cash.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

top

Apple to use LiquidMetal for fuel cell

michelcolman michelcolman writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michelcolman (1208008) writes "Apple has been granted its first patent related to Liquidmetal, a space-age metal alloy. But the patent isn’t for a new iPad enclosure or iPhone antenna, as experts have predicted. Instead Apple’s Liquidmetal patent is for an internal component of a fuel cell. Apple’s new patent describes “amorphous alloy” collector plates for fuel cells, an electrochemical battery that uses hydrogen to generate electricity. Although the patent doesn’t reference the Liquidmetal trademark, the material is an amorphous alloy or “ metallic glass”. Last year, Apple signed an exclusive agreement to use the Liquidmetal Technologies’ IP in consumer electronic products. But of course, the ever-secretive company hasn’t hinted at its plans for the material."
Link to Original Source
top

Order of importance if disaster strikes

michelcolman michelcolman writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michelcolman (1208008) writes "- Loved ones, possessions, data
- Loved ones, data, possessions
- Possessions, loved ones, data
- Possessions, data, loved ones
- Data, loved ones, possessions
- Data, possessions, loved ones"
top

Poll: Which would you rather lose?

michelcolman michelcolman writes  |  more than 4 years ago

michelcolman (1208008) writes "Only counting sentimental value, not money, I would rather lose
- All my physical possessions (books, clothes, old teddy bears, house, car,...)
- All my digital data (including all backups, even in the cloud)"

Journals

michelcolman has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...