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Comment: Re:Same old, same old. (Score 2) 775

The bullies are often the popular kids, and are often popular with some of the staff too who want to be 'cool with the kids'.

The bullied are usually the unpopular kids. It happened to me too, having no recourse to constant bullying and when I finally snapped it was me who got the suspension, and the bullies who get let off.

Comment: Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (Score 1) 116

by Alioth (#46713039) Attached to: How Riot's Social Scientists Fight <em>League of Legends</em> Trolling

There are certain parts of the Starcraft community that are absolutely shitty. It's not just the people who spout BM or make pre-emptive GGs, it's the snobs on the forum/chat channels who immediately flame anyone who isn't a pro who dares to mention even the slightest something to do with strategy as being a "noob" or "you can't talk about that, you're not in the top 100 of GMs" etc. We even have that going on in a chat channel *specifically* for low level (mainly bronze) players.

I thought it was just SC2 that was that snobby, but looking around it's pretty much the same everywhere. It's in complete contrast to the community of RTCW:ET players a few years ago which was pretty polite and friendly by comparison.

Comment: Re:Mixed blessing (Score 2) 146

by Alioth (#46704541) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

There are some good versions of BASIC, even from years ago.

Consider BBC BASIC for the BBC Microcomputer (a very common computer in the 1980s in British education and schools). BBC BASIC supports named procedures and local variables so you can write BBC BASIC programs just as structured as pretty much any other language. It's one of the few BASICs where you can easily write recursive routines (since it has local variables).

Then there are BASICs that are just awful, like the excuse for a language interpreter that Commodore put on the C64.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

Nope. A panel mount certified GPS isn't standard equipment because of the cost.

While many people have a handheld GPS, the typical VFR pilot into IMC type of accident the pilot is maxed out simply keeping control of the aircraft, and has nothing left over to interpret much more than their rough track from even the nicest GPS display. If you've never experienced spatial disorientation you may believe the mantra "Oh just look at the artificial horizon" as if it were easy. While training for my instrument rating I did actually experience spatial disorientation for real. By then I was very close to taking the checkride so I had a good instrument scan but even so the feeling of your brain screaming at you "You're in an 80 degree bank, you're gonna die!" when actually you're straight and level is immensely distracting - it literally took every scrap of willpower to maintain instrument scan and fly according to the instruments, and every time I had to look away to do something like tune a radio I would find I would have started banking the plane towards what my senses were erroneously telling me. A pilot with little experience flying in the clouds will quickly become overwhelmed. You've been alive for however many years and your senses have never failed you, so it's incredibly difficult to ignore them when they are actually flat out wrong and trying to overwhelm you with their opinion of what the situation is. Of course you get better at avoiding spatial disorientation the more experience you have flying in the clouds or at night, but you have to get that experience in the first place.

Distracted pilots have forgotten to put the wheels down for landing despite an obnoxious warning buzzer going off for the last two minutes. A pilot being distracted by incredibly powerful feelings of spatial disorientation while trying to simply maintain the aircraft on an even keel may not even notice a fancy EGPWS system yelling "Too low! Terrain! Pull up!"

Comment: Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (Score 1) 269

Qualified and licensed isn't equal to proficient.

Further upthread someone was overblowing the risk of engine failure so I picked a reasonably recent month from the NTSB accident list and found this. Out of the 20 fatal aviation accidents in the US in April 2011, every single one was fatal due to either pilot misjudgement (flight into instrument weather conditions when not equipped and colliding with terrain) or simple loss of control of the aircraft (in other words, a lack of basic stick and rudder skills). In only four was mechanical failure was a factor, but subsequently the pilot just lost control of an aircraft that was perfectly capable of gliding to a positive outcome.

I knew the owner of a flight school/aircraft rental when I lived in Houston, and the maintenance standards of his aircraft fleet was pretty awful to say the least (it was all done very much on the cheap). Yet despite the fact he sailed awfully close to the wind maintenance-wise, and everyone predicting his fleet would start falling out the sky due to mechanical or airframe maintenance problems, none of the incidents involving his aircraft were mechanical in nature - every single incident was caused by judgement errors or basic lack of stick and rudder skills.

Comment: Re:um... (Score 1) 269

No, but I know that the airline standards:
- train crews for multi crew operation and CRM
- the crews get simulator training and regular emergency training actually doing things in the sim that would be too dangerous to do in a real plane, so they can handle it if it happens for real.
- the crews get a lot of recurrent training
- the crews fly a lot of hours
- the crews have a very high equipment standard
- the aircraft mostly operate above the weather and spend very little time in it

But in light general aviation this is not the case. For instance, I have to see an instructor once every two years for a one hour ground and one hour flight review. This is entirely proportionate for personal flying when you're accepting the risk for yourself. It's not enough for holding out to the public who believe flying is safer than driving. The aircraft I fly will be 70 years old next year. Most of the instruments it has were surplus World War II parts. This is fine for personal flying, but I don't think it's fine to fly antiques when holding out to the public who may be ignorant that the aircraft they are sitting in is as old as their grandfather and believe flying is safer than driving.

Comment: Re:um... (Score 1) 269

You're not comparing like with like.
You can't lump GA ridesharing along with the airlines. The airlines are indeed safer than driving over pretty much any metric you choose. However, this is not true with light GA (general aviation). When you make a fair comparison, you will find that light GA has roughly the same safety level as riding a motorcycle on the road.

The thing is people like you don't know this and will sign up for this service and jump in with some low hours pilot who's trying to build time with the notion that the drive to the airfield was the most dangerous bit when it most assuredly is not.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

If the engine stops because the pilot ran out of fuel the outcome really isn't any different than if it stopped because a bearing failed or the lubrication system failed or a crankshaft sheared. The end result is the same - no power, and you have to glide.

But few light plane fatalities are caused by an engine stoppage in a single engine aircraft. The vast majority of injury and fatality accidents occur to light aircraft with engines that are running fine and an airframe that (until the point of impact) was undamaged.

As an example: I picked April 2011 from the NTSB monthly list of aviation accidents (it's long enough ago that all the fatal accidents will have a probable cause listed, but recent enough to be relevant to today's aviation environment).
In April 2011 there were 20 fatal aviation accidents:

Out of these, the causes were:

2 caused by pilot incapacitation
1 caused during flight testing with one engine deliberately shut down
1 caused by the pilot selecting the wrong fuel tank then losing control of the aircraft
2 controlled flight into terrain in poor weather
2 caused by engine failure but the pilot lost control of the aircraft
6 caused by a straightforward loss of control of a perfectly good airplane
1 caused by a drunk pilot losing control during a night landing
1 caused by loss of control of a multiengine aircraft with partial power loss in one engine
1 hit the ground while performing low altitude aerobatics
3 flight in instrument meteorological conditions and subsequent loss of control

Only 4 of these 20 had anything to do with loss of power (I'm not counting the one where they deliberately flew with an engine inoperative), and in all 4 of these incidents, were most likely fatal because the pilot lost control of the aircraft, the loss of power was merely what set everything in motion. Had the pilot remained in control, the odds are far better than even that the outcome would have been nonfatal. So engine failure shouldn't be the first thing on your mind when flying in a light general aviation aircraft, the first thing on your mind is can the pilot actually fly the plane with any degree of competence. And in the case of this service (which is very definitely against the spirit of 14 CFR 91) the passenger may be mislead into thinking it's only a little bit less safe than an airline because well there's only one engine, while not realising if anything's going to kill them it'll be more likely that the pilot just loses control.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

Nope. I'm a pilot so I spend a bit of time studying why others have come to grief so I can try to avoid the same problem.

There's this big thing to hit called "the ground". OK, so I'm being a bit flippant, but there are many more causes of colliding with terrain other than just you had to dodge something and hit a mountain while doing it. Consider the following which are vastly less likely to cause a fatal car accident

- icing (can very rapidly overwhelm a light aircraft's ability to carry the ice - in the wrong icing conditions, this can happen in seconds)
- pilot flying into weather they aren't competent to operate in
- pilot flying into weather that the aircraft is not equipped for
- operator error causing one or more engines to stop, pilot not having glider experience botches the forced landing
- navigation error leading to hitting a mountainside when mountains are obscured by clouds

Air traffic control is extremely seldom the cause of aviation accidents. GA accidents are most often caused by a judgement error by the pilot in command. Most of the time GA aircraft don't even talk to ATC. Around 95% of airports in the US don't have a control tower, and most flights by light aircraft are under visual flight rules in class E or G airspace where there's no need to talk to anyone.

The actual safety record of light non-business aviation is roughly equivalent to the safety of riding a motorcycle on the roads. The public using this service are probably by and large ignorant of this, thinking that flying is far safer when it's driving when this is only true when you're talking about turbine powered aircraft operated by an airline.

The typical light aircraft that will probably get involved in this (before the FAA stomps on it) will probably be non-deiced and there's a 50% chance that the pilot isn't certified to fly in the clouds. The public will probably have the unreasonable expectation that the aircraft can fly in most weather just like a jet operated by the airlines when this isn't even remotely close to being true, and this will put pressure on the pilot to fly in weather they probably ought not to.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

When I was in my early 20s while doing an aviation medical they actually did the proper hearing test with an instrument designed for the job. I don't remember the exact details, but the doctor said my hearing rolled off around 17kHz or so. Now at age 41, a short while ago I thought 'hmm, I wonder...' and plugged in a decent set of headphones into my signal generator, set it to sine, and turned the dial. My left ear is still good for 15.5kHz, my right ear though rolls off at 14kHz.

I was at my Dad's house fixing an amplifier for him, and I had my signal generator along so I could make a nice continuous input signal while tracing the fault. Once the fault was found I turned the dial up and down, and discovered my Dad's hearing rolls off at only 8kHz (he's in his mid 60s). I think a lot of that was due to him working in factories when younger without hearing protection (I think it was only in the late 70s they started insisting on ear defenders) and racing motorcycles.

The trouble is on my mother's side all the older generation are pretty deaf. I hope I've inherited their healthy longevity but without the deafness. (My grandfather blamed his deafness on test flying Liberators - he was an aircraft mechanic and was always on test flights on repaired aircraft - with no hearing protection during the war. However I noticed he had a really odd form of hearing loss - he was almost deaf to my aunt going on about complete trivia, but his ears were as good as ever at hearing words related to aircraft.....)

Comment: Re:Phones yeah (Score 1) 227

by Alioth (#46684783) Attached to: Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

Very fast charge is also completely impractical for cars with any forseeable technology. To charge the (relatively small, with only a couple of hundred miles range) 85kWh Tesla battery in 1 minute would require 5.1 megawatts of power to be delivered by the charging cable. Even at 11,000 volts you'd be looking at over 460 amps to do that. The largest power station in the USA is 6800MW (Grand Coulee) and would only be able to simultaneously charge 1334 cars assuming no transmission losses.

Quick charging beyond Tesla's superchargers is never coming with current generation and transmission technology. It will require some yet to be invented technology such as room temperature superconductors and enormous fusion power stations.

It probably also demonstrates something about how energy profligate that personal motor transportation really is.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (Score 3, Informative) 227

by Alioth (#46684715) Attached to: Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

It's irrelevant if they do this anyway, because if you had a 100kWh car battery that could charge in 5 minutes, the voltage and current requirements would be so enormous to make it impractical, because you'd have to deliver 1.2MW to charge the battery in that time. At 11000 volts you'd still require a current of about 110 amps, so not only very high current, but very high voltage.

One of Britain's largest single generating plants is the Sizewell B PWR nuclear generator, rated at 1200MW. It would take just 1000 such cars all wanting to charge at once to completely use all the capacity of this entire large nuclear power station. How many cars are currently filling up with petrol in Suffolk (the county where SIzewell B is situated) right at this second? Probably well over 1000.

Comment: Re:For God's Sake, Internet is a LUXURY not a UTIL (Score 5, Insightful) 223

by Alioth (#46682005) Attached to: Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

You could have said the same thing about telephone 100 years ago, too, and the same thing about electricity at around the same time.

It is increasingly the case where you are excluded from participating in some parts of modern society if you don't have a decent internet connection. For instance, you're not going to be doing any MOOC courses if you don't have an internet connection that's good enough for video. You're not going to be able to find things out as easier as other people if you don't have a decent internet connection, and you can find yourself denied of many opportunities. It's not all about looking at cat photos. The internet has become embedded enough in modern society that you are now often at a disadvantage if you live in the US and don't have it, so just like the telephone became a utility, internet should also become available on a similar basis.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long