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Comment So, one size fits all? (Score 4, Insightful) 352

Wow, sounds like "one size fits all" to me. What a dismal world.

Some kids do great with books and classroom materials. Others of us excelled with a rapid flurry of hands-on programming and lab exercises, with healthy doses of welding, machining, soldering, and troubleshooting.

This sounds like a dismal future for public school, and a bright opportunity for private & charter schools.

Comment Re:Really Big Deal (Score 2) 78

NASA doesn't control what SpaceX flies, unless NASA owns the cargo. SpaceX can re-fly whatever they want, as long as their customer (assuming there is one) is willing to accept the risk.

It would be very amusing if the recovered first stage were brought back to Texas and used to chase around and herd cattle.

With that said, I don't think SpaceX is here to amuse anyone. The graft and collusion between ULA and the USAF might have irritated SpaceX into being slightly more productively aggressive.

Comment How about a more realistic list (Score 2) 213

The only ones on the list that have any factual basis:

1. Major asteroid impact
2. Super volcano
3. Ecological catastrophe

The others in the list seem to be the result fanciful imaginations or anti-science fear mongering. So, I'd like to add two more item to the list:

4. Failure to understand history/philosophy/science (aversion to rational thought)
5. Poisoned minds, poisoned cultures

Comment Re:Mathematics is to universial to turn nationalis (Score 1) 187

Nations are never great. Societies and cultures that choose to be free - free to think, free to choose, free to express, free to travel and study anything - are what history has shown to be great.

Any country that allows it's people to be truly free will eventually be great, and will be remembered as great. Sometimes people forget who and why a group of people came to be known as great, but as we forget and repeat history, we will re-learn.

Comment Umm, no. (Score 0, Flamebait) 187

An Indian website hosts an article about an Indian mathematician who asks, "Did India discover Pythagoras theorem? A top mathematician answers" Gee, I wonder what his conclusion will be?

It seems the cradle of western civilization isn't close enough to India's back yard for most Indian's tastes. Given the opportunity, they'd re-write history. Anti-American sentiment, along with anti-western sentiment, runs deep, and maybe for good reason. But whatever that reason, Indian's perpetual desire to re-write history ad nauseam is growing a bit old. What next, an article about how an Indian, not a Greek documented and used calculus in the 3rd century BC, long before Newton?

It would be delightful if India could point to an original Indian version of Euclid's Elements, the oldest continuously used textbook in history. Such books shape minds for, well, eons, by teaching logical & rational thought. Seemed to work well for Abraham Lincoln, he carried around a copy in his saddle bag and studied it while traveling.

Instead of self-glorifying episodic re-writes, how about discussing continuous, progressive and well reasoned contributions to culture and civilization?

Comment Re:"Still a youngster" is an invalid option. (Score 1) 286

The evolutionary perspective that holds post-menopausal women as a dead end is not a very well developed perspective.

Please go back and refresh your readings on sociobiology, cultural evolution, and game theory. And next time you get bit by an ant or stung by a bee, realize that mother nature begs to differ as well.

In short, for a male human the cost of creating an embryo is virtually nothing - a few beers, the possibility of rejection, etc. For a female human, the cost is huge. It takes a well developed social structure to support a gestating female and see her offspring through development, regardless of how developed (or not) her society is. Post-menopausal woman are an important and interesting part of this support structure. Cookies and quilts are more than just quaint - a lack of Grandmas is a disadvantage for any human offspring. One of mine taught me how to shoot a firearm accurately and kill, clean and cook chickens.

Comment Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

An aircraft can be equipped with any manner of cameras, sensors and antennas and still be operated as a non-commercial flight.

What is more interesting is the manner in which this equipment is added to an aircraft. Modifying an aircraft without some engineering oversight is generally a bad idea - people die from the unintended consequences of things coming lose, falling off, or by simply being a distraction in the cockpit.

Even 'experimental' aircraft must go through a well defined FAA certification program to make sure reasonable safety precautions are taken. Expect the same for drones that fly beyond visible range of the operator and that mix with other aircraft, manned or unmanned.

Comment Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

This list is my stab at things that might be essential to keep drones and airplanes from crashing into each other by allowing safe separation and accurate position reporting. If it's ridiculous, then please come up with a better list.

Of note, I did exclude an image sensor, which all manned aircraft currently have in the form of Mark I eyeballs. Perhaps drones should include a vision system of some kind as well.

Comment Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 2) 129

I failed to address lots of specifics - specifics which need to be addressed to keep from risking lives.

Crop dusters fly around at low altitudes all over this country, as do many other GA and commercial aircraft, and they are all within their legal right to do so. A few weeks ago I encountered a couple of NASA aircraft operating around 200 AGL while taking air samples. One of those aircraft was a P3 Orion.

Few people realize what a complex task it is to integrate into the nations existing aviation infrastructure. It is a complex engineered system and it needs to be dealt with carefully.

Comment Re:So what you mean is... (Score 2) 129

Lose a friend or a family member in an airplane crash and you'll be a dick too.

The point isn't to 'own' the skies - it's to share as broadly and as safely as possible.

Just because you can afford to buy or operate some new tech toy doesn't mean you automatically have the right to go barging in to a complex engineered system without training and some reasonable adherence to regulations.

Comment Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

As for being a licensed drone pilot being a different class - agreed. Vertigo isn't likely to be a factor!

Ideally there would be 'drone recovery areas' where an autopilot would fly to automatically in the event of lost communications. There are lots of little details like this to work out. The big unanswered questions are those dealing with how to integrate safely with existing traffic. I'm not at all convinced that the FAA has a clear answer.

Comment Re:So what you mean is... (Score 1) 129

I have no concern for greasing bureaucrats palms - my concern is for my own life and the lives of those I share the skies with - as both a passenger and a pilot.

I've invested heavily in my flight training and I take the safety of myself, my passengers, and those I share the sky with very seriously.

Drone operators will take the safety of the entire aviation system seriously as well - either by will or by enforced regulation.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.