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Comment: Re:misquote (Score 1) 117

by Goldenhawk (#49475349) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

Why not land in the desert?

Two very good reasons.

1) They have to use a lot more fuel to get back to said deserts (in the US, at least) than returning to somewhere on the Atlantic.

2) To get to any suitable desert, you have to overfly populated areas with a very, very large, very very explosive drone with very limited fuel reserves and control margins.

Comment: When it's useful info, people listen and heed (Score 2) 406

by Goldenhawk (#48142919) Attached to: Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Some years back I had the pleasure of flying Qantas, the Australian airline. Since we left from LAX, we were subjected to the American routine anyhow. Despite already being a seasoned traveler, I clearly remember elements of the brief - because it was entertaining, not formulaic, and loaded with real useful information. For example, even though I am an aerospace engineer with Aviation Physiology training in a high altitude chamber for government test flights, this tidbit was news to me:

If you see those silly yellow masks fall down in front of your face, you may be tempted to help little Johnny put on his mask first. Here's the problem: we're cruising at 35,000 feet today. If the plane loses cabin pressure, you'll have about 12 seconds of useful consciousness left. Now how useful do you think you'll be to little Johnny if he's sitting there with his mask on and mom and dad are both unconscious? So do us all a favor. Be selfish. Put your own mask on first. Then you'll have plenty of oxygen to help the people around you wake up again from their little unexpected nap, just in time to enjoy the rest of the emergency.

Wow. I never knew that. I've NEVER forgotten it. Oh, and thanks, I don't need to hear it five or six times a year again to remember it either... so that's why I'm not paying strict attention...

Comment: Asymmetric eye prescriptions (Score 1) 550

by Goldenhawk (#47527447) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

I naturally have one 20-20 eye and one 20-200 eye (corrected with a single contact to 20-15), and I'm now 45 years old. When I asked about laser eye surgery maybe 10 years ago, my eye doctor said "NO. Don't do it. In a few years you'll appreciate that eye that's currently near-sighted." And I do. As I am slowly creeping up on the "arms too short" syndrome, I can still see closer with my nearsighted eye.

Comment: Re:hacks against contactless? (Score 2) 146

by Goldenhawk (#45849995) Attached to: How to Avoid a Target-Style Credit Card Security Breach (Video)

My American family spent about a week in Canada and never once had our card merely swiped - every single terminal was a push-click chip-n-pin setup. They looked at us funny when we said nobody in America uses them yet. But it still worked with our non-chip cards. So apparently while all the terminals are chip-n-pin, they don'all have to ACT like it all the time.

Comment: Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (Score 4, Insightful) 52

by Goldenhawk (#45483303) Attached to: ISS Astronauts Fire-Up Awesome 'Cubesat Cannon'

Won't they circle back around and hit the ISS on a future orbit? I'm no rocket scientist, but I recall the idea that anything that departs from a given point in orbit will cross it again, and two objects leaving the same orbital point will both cross it again.

Maybe solar or atmospheric drag is enough to alter the cubesat orbits, and I know the ISS orbit is raised periodically, but since they were launched FROM the ISS by expelling them, instead of having a propulsive system, both the ISS and the cubesats left a single point in space and ought to converge there again.

I'd welcome an explantion from a real rocket scientist.

Comment: Re:Cant stop the Robocaller (Score 2) 281

by Goldenhawk (#42754977) Attached to: FTC Gets 744 New Ideas On How To Hang Up On Robocallers

Never ever EVER give them a yes answer. That puts your phone number on a list they sell of valid targets. Made that mistake with "Rachel", trying to get real info from them for the FTC. I am still paying for it, even after they shut her down.

See, the mere fact that you answered the phone and pressed 1 makes your phone number itself valuable, at least in bulk with all the others. You can bet that "Rachel" has probably made more money selling lists of answered numbers than on the services being marketed.

+ - New 2D material for next generation high-speed electronics->

Submitted by jeno
jeno writes: Scientists at CSIRO and RMIT University have produced a new two-dimensional material that could revolutionise the electronics market.The CSIRO's Dr Serge Zhuiykov said the new nano-material was made up of layered sheets – similar to graphite layers that make up a pencil's core.
"Within these layers, electrons are able to zip through at high speeds with minimal scattering," Dr Zhuiykov said. "The importance of our breakthrough is how quickly and fluently electrons – which conduct electricity – are able to flow through the new material." RMIT's Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said the researchers were able to remove "road blocks" that could obstruct the electrons, an essential step for the development of high-speed electronics. "Instead of scattering when they hit road blocks, as they would in conventional materials, they can simply pass through this new material and get through the structure faster"

Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Using the iPad as sole computing device 4

Submitted by cashman73
cashman73 writes: Bad news. My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to and electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got an iPad (fourth generation with Retina), and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with the iPad! Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using the iPad as her sole "computer" might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences with using the iPad or other tablets without a separate desktop computer connected to it?

Comment: His emails simplify the blacklister's job (Score 1) 345

by Goldenhawk (#42277351) Attached to: Hotmail & Yahoo Mail Using Secret Domain Blacklist

Ironic. Almost all blacklist providers keep proxy sites on their default "bad sites" list. Were I running URLBlacklist or similar, I would simply sign up for his email service and make a point of adding every web domain spotted in his emails. Almost an instant kill for the blacklist provider; by the time email recipients can act on the information, it's already been blacklisted.

Comment: Re:Wonder if they'll update for 1st iPad ... (Score 1) 279

by Goldenhawk (#42272483) Attached to: Revamped Google Maps Finally Available On iOS

"Original iPad"? This app still doesn't support *ANY* iPad directly. It's an iPhone-native app, that can be 2x scaled to show on the iPad also. Looks horrible at full size.

Okay, I get it - Google wanted to get *something* out there as quickly as possible. But it cannot be THAT hard to set up a native iPad resolution - it's just a bigger screen. Come on already, Google. Finish the job quickly, please.

I'm really happy this is out, as it proves Apple is willing to allow Google to create a new iOS mapping app that directly competes with their own. But I'll be a lot happier when it also looks good on my iPad.

Comment: RecordPad is my choice (Score 1) 85

by Goldenhawk (#41070427) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet?

I did similar research for nearly-automated audio recording of our church sermons. I wanted to make it super-simple to minimize the added workload on our not-so-computer-savvy Sunday helpers.

I finally settled on using RecordPad from NCH Software, installed on a dedicated and inexpensive laptop, and set to load automatically when Windows launches.

After using it for about a year, I'm VERY happy.

RecordPad is not too expensive (about $40) and it is VERY easy to use. It can record to most common audio file formats. Once you've got it configured, it's just one button to start/stop the recording, using the default settings. It auto-names the recordings with configurable tags. As soon as recording is completed, it can also be set to upload the resulting audio file to via FTP to any site you designate.

In our case, for privacy purposes, we upload to a protected folder, and we then manually move the recordings to the main audio folder. But if the recording is not suitable for public distribution (like telling a sensitive story about a church member - or in the case at hand, discussing sensitive boardroom business) we simply leave it in the protected folder, where it's still accessible to staff.

One thing about NCH software can be either highly annoying or highly desirable - they have a very slick install-on-demand setup. Everything installs as a limited-function demo, so if you ask to try something it is very quickly available without any installers or messy configuration. NCH offers several useful companions to RecordPad such as a fairly easy and intuitive audio editing program, a recording library program, etc. This may be valuable if you want easy tools to go along with the basic recording functions.

I have no connection to NCH - I'm just a very satisfied customer and think this is a particularly handy solution to nearly-automatic record-and-upload requirements.

Comment: Re:Video (Score 1) 338

by Goldenhawk (#37428342) Attached to: James Gosling Report of Reno Air Crash

In this case, consider the fire triangle: fuel, heat, oxygen.

Fuel? Maybe. In an air race, the lighter the plane the faster the plane, since more weight = more lift and more lift = more drag. So the planes are as lightly loaded on fuel as possible. Halfway or more thru the race, the remaining fuel is even lower; these planes burn it fairly quickly at high throttle. The stock fuel capacity of a P-51D Mustang is 269 gallons; this plane probably had about a quarter of that at impact.
This article says another famous P-51 racer (Dago Red) carries 150 gal of 180-octane avgas at takeoff.

Oxygen? Plenty.

Heat? Lots in the area of the engine, not so much elsewhere. Also, the heat has to be in a place it can ignite the fuel/oxygen mix. If the fuel has not been properly mixed with oxygen, no amount of heat will ignite it. At the speed that airplane hit the pavement, the engine probably embedded itself a couple feet deep in tarmac before the fuel even began to vaporize, so most of the hot metal was out of the picture.

180 octane is ridiculously high (160 is probably a more realistic number); it's actually designed to be very hard to ignite inside the engine, so that the pistons are not destroyed by early ignition due to the extreme compression at which these engines run. I don't know how that relates to an impact-caused vapor cloud, however.

Finally, this doesn't exclude an explosion; it was still POSSIBLE, but some good fortune was involved. Not a pretty day for anyone involved, but it could have been even worse if it HAD ignited.

Comment: Re:lol (Score 5, Informative) 289

by Goldenhawk (#36527568) Attached to: An Entirely New Class of Aircraft Arrives

>How many aircraft have been swept off a deck of a carrier after landing? NONE! Gravity keeps them there.

Sorry to argue but the answer is not "NONE", it's PLENTY. Gravity's great, but have you ever really watched a ship move in heavy seas? 30+ degree rolls are not uncommon, and when big pitching motion is encountered, the deck can actually move out from underneath you at nearly 0g.

I work around a bunch of guys who test carrier-based rotorcraft for the US Navy, and I can tell you (from having watched more than a few of the horror-story videos from testing) that this is a very real risk.

Here's a prime example from real life.
Sorry, but gravity didn't really do much to help here.

More short clips of ugly sea conditions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Mwd-3Kf-4 (0:33 and on)

Sticking a helo to the deck in rolling seas is NOT a trivial business, and downthrust or some mechanical hold-down is essential. It's not such a big deal for a carrier which doesn't move all that much, but every US Navy destroyer which hosts helos includes a winch-down system of some kind. Some are employed at great personal risk to the sailor who must run out under a hovering helo on a deck that's rolling over 10 deg back and forth every few seconds, hook up a cable (with a huge static shock risk), and run back out of harm's way while the cable literally pulls the helo down to the deck into the right position and holds it there. Some are lock-down systems that grab a probe sticking down from the bottom of the helo. You can see that probe and lock system here:

There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.