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Comment: Re:useful? (Score 1) 87 87

Well, they'll be useful when I decide to start jumping off perfectly good cliffs. If I ever get sick of IT, I could make a better-than-average living packing parachutes or possibly even flying a jump plane. I'd need to go get a pilot's license and a commercial rating for the latter, but demand definitely exceeds supply for skydiving pilots. Just because the majority of people never picks up a skill (Like lockpicking, contact juggling, parquor, etc) doesn't mean those skills aren't useful. They just require some creativity to use to their full potential.

More to the point, the skills I've picked up skydiving are not ones that are going to go away at any point in my life. Even if I quit the sport, I'd still be able to hop into the wind tunnel at any point and fly. Contrast that with the ability to, let's say, run Molten Core. Anyone in a guild who did that during vanilla WoW spent way more time learning how to do that than I did skydiving. Keep in mind that my actual freefall time at the time I got my A license was less than an hour. And that's with wind tunnel time. The hypothetical guild probably spent several times that much time wiping on trash to get to the first boss. Three years later, I'm still building on my skydiving skills. Three years later, the hypothetical guild's shiny purple crap has been obsolete for three expansions and if anyone runs Molten Core anymore, it's 1 or 2 people going for some vanity drop. That's a significantly less rewarding experience, and I know that first-hand.

Transportation

Why Electric Vehicles Aren't More Popular 87 87

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences into the reasons why more people aren't driving electric vehicles. Of course infrastructure issues are a part of it — until charging stations are ubiquitous, the convenience factor for using a gas-powered car will weigh heavily on consumers's minds. (This despite the prevalence of outlets at home and work, where the vast majority of charging will be done even with better infrastructure.) But other reasons are much more tractable. Simply giving somebody experience with an EV tends to make the fog of mystery surrounding them dissipate, and the design of the car counts for a lot, too. It turns out car buyers don't want their EVs to look different from regular cars.

Comment: Re:Does this concern anyone else? (Score 1) 87 87

Heh, yeah. I took up skydiving in 2012 and the progression does feel very much like a video game. Can't advance until you demonstrate proficiency in the current training level yadda yadda. I'm building useful skills, actually have a social life now and am in much better shape than I was before. And my accomplishments are actually meaningful to me. Down sides are it's a pretty expensive hobby and has a higher than average chance of killing me. I'm pretty conservative under canopy, though.

I'm still pretty interested in the VR headset technology. Seems like the Microsoft Holo Lens is what the wearable computing guys really needed for augmented reality a decade and a half or so ago. And I'm looking forward to being able to take an audience along for a jump with a 3D camera. It'll really be much more intense than just watching it on a flat screen on YouTube. Even that's a pretty amazing technology, though. For around $400 someone can give you a window into a world that most people will never see. And they want to see it. Pretty much everyone I talk to about it says skydiving's on their bucket list, but only a tiny percentage of them will ever do so much as a tandem jump.

+ - Frank Herbert's Dune, 50 Years On->

An anonymous reader writes: This October will be the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's massively popular and influential sci-fi novel Dune. The Guardian has written a piece examining its effects on the world at least, and how the book remains relevant even now. Quoting: "Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn’t in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. ... As Paul’s destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions 'of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad’Dib.' If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for 'the jihad’s bloody swords,' unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 47 47

And that is the problem. You dont have to have any IQ at all to own and operate a quadracopter like that. Only need a checkbook or credit card.

Honestly, I think they need undercover cops to walk around and just taze the hell out of drone owners that do that crap. No warning, just a tazer to the balls for 5 minutes and then say, "Stop being an asshole, have a nice day."

+ - Why Electric Vehicles Aren't More Popular->

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences into the reasons why more people aren't driving electric vehicles. Of course infrastructure issues are a part of it — until charging stations are ubiquitous, the convenience factor for using a gas-powered car will weigh heavily on consumers's minds. (Despite the prevalence of outlets at home and work, where the vast majority of charging will be done even with better infrastructure.) But other reasons are much less intractable. Simply giving somebody experience with an EV tends to make the fog of mystery surrounding them dissipate, and the design of the car counts for a lot, too. It turns out car buyers don't want their EVs to look different from regular cars.
Link to Original Source

+ - When Nerds Do BBQ

Rick Zeman writes: On this 4th of July, the day that Americans flock to their grills and smokers, Wired has a fascinating article on a computerized smoker designed by Harvard engineering students. They say, "In prototype form, the smoker looks like a combination of a giant pepper mill, a tandoori oven, and V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole. It weighs 300 pounds. It has a refueling chute built into the side of it. And it uses a proportional-integral-derivative controller, a Raspberry Pi, and fans to regulate its own temperature, automatically producing an ideal slow-and-low burn."

After cooking >200 lbs of brisket fine-tuning the design, the students concluded, "“Old-school pitmasters are like, ‘I cook mine in a garbage can,’ and there’s a point of pride in that,” Parker says. “A lot of the cutting edge is when you take an art form and drag it back onto scientific turf and turn it into an algorithm. I don’t think we’ve diluted the artistic component with this."
Transportation

Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record-Breaking Flight 9 9

An anonymous reader writes: Solar Impulse 2, the airplane powered only by the sun's light, has completed its flight from Japan to Hawaii. The distance sets the record for manned, solar-powered flight, both by distance (7,200 km, according to the BBC) and by time spent aloft (118 hours). This was one leg in a longer journey to fly around the world, and by far the longest they've attempted. Their next leg will send them across the rest of the Pacific Ocean, landing in Phoenix, Arizona. Then they'll stop off at New York before crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to the journey's starting point, Abu Dhabi. Pilot Andre Borschberg was in good shape, despite spending almost five consecutive days in command of the aircraft. He was only allowed to sleep for up to 20 minutes at a time, so he took about a dozen naps every day. He did this at an altitude of 9,000 meters, and while taking medication to prevent thrombosis. Borschberg's partner, Bertrand Piccard, will fly the aircraft during the next leg to Phoenix. This will happen as soon as the plane is checked out and meteorologists think the weather will be placid enough for a safe crossing.

+ - Solar Impulse Completes Record-Breaking Flight->

An anonymous reader writes: Solar Impulse, the airplane powered only by the sun's light, has completed its flight from Japan to Hawaii. The distance sets the record for manned, solar-powered flight, both by distance (7,200 km, according to the BBC) and by the time spent aloft (118 hours). This was one leg in a longer journey to fly around the world, and by far the longest they've attempted. Their next leg will send them across the rest of the Pacific Ocean, landing in Phoenix, Arizona. Then they'll stop off at New York before cross the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to the journey's starting point, Abu Dhabi. Pilot Andre Borschberg was in good shape, despite spending almost five consecutive days in command of the aircraft. He was only allowed to sleep for up to 20 minutes at a time, so he took about a dozen naps every day. He did this at an altitude of 9,000 meters, and while taking medication to prevent thrombosis. Borschberg's partner, Betrand Piccard, will fly the aircraft during the next leg to Phoenix. This will happen as soon as the plane is checked out, and as soon as meteorologists think the weather will be placid enough for a safe crossing.
Link to Original Source
United States

Wired Cautions Would-Be Drone Photogs on the 4th 48 48

Last year's spectacular but unauthorized you-are-there video from the inside of a fireworks display has probably inspired quite a few people to try getting their own bird's-eye view this year. Wired cautions photographers, though, that many municipalities have specifically banned (and some will be looking for) unauthorized airborne visitors, and that the FAA's guidelines for legal flight are tricky to comply with during a fireworks show. This is both because it's hard to maintain visual contact with a drone amid the dark and smoke of a show, and because of the altitude at which many commercial firework shells burst. In addition, even if a drone photo mission goes under the radar vis-a-vis local authorities, if resulting footage appears on an ad-supported site, like YouTube, the FAA may be a bit more interested than the pilot would like.
Games

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality 87 87

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.

Comment: Re:Sweden's case won't really matter (Score 1) 117 117

There is one thing where the UK would have had a role even if he hadn't fled bail, in that the UK would have been the EAW "sending state". Under an EAW surrender, the sending state has certain rights and responsibilities - for example, if a request comes for extradition to a third party, it has to not only go through the receiving state's judiciary system, but also the sending state's judiciary system; the receiving state can't just hand off someone that they received under an EAW at will. Which is one of the things that makes the whole thing even more ridiculous - Assange had so much faith in Sweden's independence against the UK (such as their ban on extradition for intelligence crimes and 2006 Swedish special forces raids to shut down the US's rendition flights secretly moving through their territory) that he called it his "shield" and was applying for a residence permit there. But suddenly, practically overnight, Sweden transformed into Evil US Lackeys(TM) when he was accused of rape. So then he went to the UK where he talked about his great respect for their independence and impartiality and promised to abide by whatever rulings their judicial system made. Until he ran out of appeals, wherein the UK also turned into Evil US Lackeys(TM). Funny how he felt just fine walking around freely in both of these countries all this time, having only one of the two countries as barriers against US extradition, but adamantly fought the situation that would make them both be barriers to extradition.

A memorandum is written not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer. -- Dean Acheson

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