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Comment: Re:Not going to disappear quickly.... (Score 1) 293

by Blrfl (#48939295) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

When Boeing made the original 747, they weren't planning to make it with a partial second deck. It was supposed to be a stepping stone to future models with a full second deck ... .

The front-end configuration of the 747 was a holdover from a proposal Boeing made for the CX Heavy Logistics System program, which it didn't win. CX-HLS required a nose door, and because there was a lot of sentiment at the time that passenger service was eventually going to be SST and subsonic planes would be relegated to freight, that feature was carried into the 747. If you order a 747F, you get the nose door whether you want it or not.

Comment: Re:Dupe (Score 1) 840

There was an amusing scene in Mythbusters about this, where Jamie goes to replace the battery in a Dodge Stratus they purchased and has to take one of the wheels off in order to access it. Needless to say he was unimpressed; I think his quote was "You see, what happened here is some idiot designed this in a computer and didn't think."

What happened there was a special effects guy with no experience in designing products that had to last longer than film production shot his mouth off.

Putting the battery where it was had four benefits. First was that it lowered the car's center of gravity slightly by not putting the additional weight up high. Second was that it added some counter to the weight of the transmission, most of which was on the opposite side of the car and at about the same level. Third, it allowed for a much lower hoodline. Fourth, and most important, was that it got the battery out of the engine compartment, where there's no shortage of a battery's biggest enemy: heat.

That arrangement does actually work well. I bought a car on the LH platform (the Stratus was the smaller JA) in 1999 with the same arrangement and drove it daily through 12 years of hot summers and cold winters, all with the same battery that rolled off the assembly line with the rest of the car. It still started the car just fine, but while doing some other work before giving it to a relative, I threw in a new battery so the new owner wouldn't have to.

Comment: Re:This helmet scares me. (Score 1) 126

by Blrfl (#47666121) Attached to: Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding

I'm not convinced that the high dollar helmets are any safer than the cheaper ones.

If you want more convincing, the UK government has a database of helmet ratings that's very enlightening. There are one- and two-star helmets in the same price ranges as the four- and five-star models.

Comment: Re:Oh man (Score 3, Insightful) 126

by Blrfl (#47665959) Attached to: Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding

I mean you're looking at less than $100 in raw parts for GPS + Arduino + HD Camera + display controller/OSD. Not sure about the HUD part but I believe it's just a projection on a small piece of glass, probably also less than $100 in parts by itself not to mention alternative hardware implementations that might be cheaper. Add $300 for a decent helmet, wire it up and you're done.

Yep, and what you'll have when you finish is a kludged-up helmet that does nothing unless you manage to source the hard-to-obtain Arduino Motorcycle Helmet Edition that does all of the navigation, phone interface, etc. You're also assuming you'll get it completely right the first time. which you won't, because nobody does. Price in a few helmets and at least two sets of hardware and you're already into the same price as a finished AR1. Don't forget the value of your time to do all of the hardware integration and write all of that nifty software.

More fun: Your modifications will invalidate any safety certifications the helmet you started with, making it not legal for road use almost everywhere. As a free bonus, you'll get to ride around with a niggling question in the back of your head about whether or not the helmet will do its job properly during a crash.

Personally I think I would find the HUD hardware incredibly distracting. Not the HUD itself mind you, but the stalk that sticks up in front of your eye.

If the photos I've seen reflect what will be produced, it doesn't stick up any further than the breath guard, is in a location where vision is not all that important and isn't any larger than Legal Speeding's H.A.R.D., which is often installed in the same spot.

Comment: Re:It's 2014 now (Score 1) 345

by Blrfl (#47284497) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

The range problem has vanished if your benchmark is bikes with tanks so small they have a range of about 150 km. I ride further than that before my first stop most days. The benchmarks for range are touring and sport-touring bikes with large tanks that are capable of 350-450 km between stops.

When an electric finishes the Iron Butt Rally, I'll say the range and charge time problems are licked.

Comment: Re:Doppler effect (Score 1) 345

by Blrfl (#47284341) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

More likely, you live in a place where there are surfaces behind the riders for the noise to reflect and bounce back in your direction.

Go to a wide open area sometime and have anything with an audible exhaust drive by you. You'll hear a lot more if it as heads away than when it's coming toward you.

Comment: Re:Dead on arrival (not) (Score 1) 345

by Blrfl (#47280593) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle electric bike that is faster and better performing than any gas bike could ever be...

I'm as excited about electrics as the next guy, but there's a fistful of gassers that will run rings around the current crop of electrics on performance measures alone and an armload if you factor range into it. That will change, but I'm not holding my breath for something that fits my needs (fast, comfortable and capable of 500-mile days without gaps in the middle) in the next 5-7 years.

The Livewire has marginally better torque- and power-to-weight ratios than HD's Sportster 883, which isn't a stellar performer by any measure. What it does have is full torque available from zero, and that makes it a good (but not fantastic) stoplight racer.

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman