Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Only a matter of time (Score 1) 207

The powder comes to $2 for a 500 calorie meal full of vitamins and minerals. I can't imagine how you could prepare a meal with the same nutritional value for less than that.

Noodles (ramen or otherwise) with chopped mixed vegetables. Cheap, tastes good, and nutritious. All it takes is some boiling water and a minute or two of chopping. Soylent gets about half its calories from fat, which is way too much.

fresh bread is extremely easy to make and doesn't have to be labor intensive (18 hour, no-knead). Also very tasty.

Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 3, Interesting) 290

What takes 10 minutes to say in voicemail can probably be read in 1 or so, and more easily referred back to.

My employer started doing video documentation instead of written documentation for in-house tools and classes and it's extremely irritating - it's a population of very well educated people who are used to reading large volumes of technical information for detail and digesting it, so they started distributing information in the lowest bandwidth, least random-access way they could think of.

Comment Re:Are these really drones? (Score 3, Informative) 170

Surveying the fires is generally done from high altitude fixed wing aircraft unless it's a small fire and one or two helos with buckets spotting and dumping on their own. Your post indicates that you don't know what the firefighting aircraft are doing-- most of them are not scouting the fire or looking for trapped people, they're carrying 500-1000 gallons (or more for the skycranes and fixed wings) of water and fire retardant and doing precision drops. I've watched a pumper truck park near my house with an inflatable pool and supply two helos with water to knock out a ~5 acre fire on a steep mountainside that would have taken hours to get handcrews to, and been impossible to get a truck to. They completely knocked out the fire with no people on the ground within a mile of it.

As for scouting for people - if you're in a wildland fire and aren't by a road, you're pretty much SOL. The best they'd be able to do is drop water on you (which they'd do) if they see you at all, but you're not getting picked up til it burns past unless you're well away from the fire. They get people out by filling the neighborhood with fire equipment and telling people to leave. The drones in the air don't stop the firefighters on the ground, but they do stop the air support they depend on. There are 28 helos and probably a half-dozen fixed wing aircraft assigned to the Sand fire right now - they do water and fire retardant drops to support the ground crews, especially in areas that are difficult or dangerous for the hand crews to get to, and might have restricted escape routes.

Comment Re:Are these really drones? (Score 1) 170

You haven't been around a brush fire at the urban/wildland interface. It's very common for there to be fire right up close to a neighborhood that's still full of people, or just far enough and with favorable winds that they aren't forcing people to evacuate but you could easily pilot a drone from your backyard. I've got co-workers who were in their backyards while firefighters were setting backfires from their yard. So there can easily be hoards of non-emergency personnel within range of a large drone. There was just an article in the paper about a guy who got caught because he posted fire video from his drone. And there aren't always high winds- part of why the Station fire in 2009 was so bad was that it wasn't windy and it slowly burned through and set all the trees on fire, too, instead of just the undergrowth.

Most firefighting aircraft around SoCal are helicopters. They're easier to maneuver around in the narrow canyons and steep mountains. They do bring in fixed wing aircraft for the big fires, but they don't have nearly the precision of the helos. LA City and County also flight firefighting helos at night (Forest Service still doesn't, and I don't think CalFire does), and a drone could be very hard for them to spot.

Comment Re:Grain of salt (Score 1) 170

The drones are most certainly not threatening the jobs of firefighting helo pilots. How many drones can haul 500-1000 gallons of water?

Firefighting aircraft are generally flying in terrible conditions - smokey, low, often in canyons or near mountainsides, and around powerlines, and they're hauling ~4000-8000 lbs that they're going to dump in an instant. The last thing they need is to worry about getting some big quadcopter caught up in the rotor.

Comment Re:Complete overreaction, TSA style (Score 1) 170

Most of the aircraft used to fight fires, at least here in SoCal, are helicopters, occasionally some with open cockpits. They're often flying in terrible visibility due to the smoke and have enough to worry about avoiding (powerlines, mountainsides, and the fire itself) without worrying that they're going to get a drone caught up in their rotor. Any drone capable of getting to where it's a problem without obviously being controlled by someone standing around waiting to get picked up by the Sheriff's Deputies is likely large enough to cause trouble for a helicopter.

The DC-10 tanker could probably take a drone hit and not notice, unless it went into an engine. Those things fly *way* lower than you expect, and don't do things you expect a widebody jet to do.

Comment Re:Standard of living (Score 1) 614

Lucky '70s kid, in my high school we had no vocational classes of any use, sure you could take shop but that doesn't come close to starting training for a trade. My high school had no auto shop, and does any school have an HVAC class...I seriously asking was that really ever a thing?

I was born at the front edge of GenX and graduated high school in the early 80s. Junior high had wood shop, metal shop, plastic shop, bicycle repair, "electronics" (really just basic circuits) shop, and probably more. High school had a full auto shop, metal shop, and probably more if you were on that track. I don't think there was HVAC, but the other vocational classes probably prepared you well enough for that. I think there was even a home construction class.

Comment Re: Xray bikes (Score 1) 158

Use a probe, measure how far down the hollow part goes. Compare it to the outside of the tube down to the crank, if there's more than 2 cm or so then remove the bike from use for further examination.

There isn't necessarily easy access to the inside of the seat tube without potentially messing up the rider's position from having to remove the seat-- many modern bikes have complicated seat tubes and integrated posts that may make it non-trivial. And even if you can, it's become so easy to make bikes that are well under the 6.8 kg minimum racing weight that I've known many smaller riders who have had to do things like drop a length of chain down their seat tube to bring the bike weight up to the minimum.

Comment Re:They shouldn't (Score 2) 271

Even big motorcycles are hard to see, nevermind a skinny little bike.

You aren't looking around enough. If you're used to looking for bicycles, they're easy to see. If you're used to looking for motorcycles, they're easy to see. Lane sharing by motorcyclists is legal in California, so if you're driving you have to expect that motorcycles are going to come up the apparently non-existent lane between you and the next car. They're easy to see if you actually look.

Comment Re:may might predicts (Score 1) 655

You can get most things delivered to your door by self-driving cars..

I think this is already getting close to optimized and isn't going to change much. I already get almost everything delivered to my door by a company that goes so far as to map its routes so there are fewer left turns to save fuel. Somebody still has to get out of the truck and deliver it to my porch. Some things are a lot less cost-effective to ship.

I can get fresh stuff delivered, too, but the limits on that aren't related to the vehicle so much as trusting who's picking them out or whether they'll have to sit out in the sun or where animals can get into them.

Comment Re:may might predicts (Score 2) 655

So when you walk out of the mall, the next car will pull up a few seconds after you request it. If demand is under predicted, you may wait a few more seconds, but not 10 minutes.

That works until you combine multiple trips where you're picking things up in different places. If you don't have a dedicated vehicle you have to haul all that stuff around. I routinely will take a bicycle or two somewhere, go for a long ride, then stop a few places on the way home for shopping (sometimes bulk). So either I leave the stuff (which can add up to quite a lot) in the car and wait for the car, or I haul it around with me (unworkable). Parking lots local to the shopping work much better for my use case.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt