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Comment Re:Stupid article (Score 2) 226

No, not at all. The Space Shuttle had to be substantially overhauled after *every single flight*. Airplanes don't. EasyJet for instance turns around a flight in under 30 minutes, which simply wouldn't be possible if it required more than a visual walk around by the crew between flights. I own an aircraft, and typically we only have to take things apart twice a year (and this is for an antique aircraft, too).

The Space Shuttle was not like this at all. It needed a full engine overhaul after every flight. The turbines on modern widebody twin engine aircraft will go thousands of cycles and tens of thousands of hours before requiring an overhaul - not a single cycle and single flight like the Shuttle.

Comment Re:The real issue (Score 2) 363

This isn't unusual.

I remember (seemingly back in the dark ages) having a debate with an academic about the truly awful state of UK university networking (at the time JANET was strictly X.25 and forbade IP traffic, the tools were terrible, the writing already had been on the wall for a couple of years that IP was the future, but this lot had a severe case of 'not invented here' syndrome and were pushing hard for an ISO-OSI model network instead of the "anarchy" of TCP/IP, think all the X.something standards designed by committee). He blustered "well JANET is an academic network for academics".

I wondered aloud where the academics and their wonderful X.25 network would be if there were no students (who needed to use the network to actually find stuff out, learn things, and get things done - normally through a painful and very restrictive and incredibly slow off-site gateway to the real internet - instead of pontificating in some ivory tower)

Fortunately a few months after this debate JANET finally admitted that TCP/IP wouldn't break the network, and as soon as they allowed IP, IP traffic handily exceeded X.25 traffic immediately. Computer science departments gladly and with great relief threw out all the "coloured book" standards and forgot about them.

Comment Re:I just can't really rejoice (Score 1) 59

Many private citizens need them. Lots of people go on vacation to different European countries. Many people in the EU live close to a border. You don't have to go halfway across the continent to be stung with extortionate roaming charges (often from the same company your contract is with - e.g. O2 Ireland charging O2 UK people huge roaming charges because they went 2 miles over the border).

Basic cell coverage will remain inexpensive due to competition, which will actually increase. Live in France and don't like the selection of French providers? Well you can use a German one or a Spanish one or an Italian one at no penalty because of the abolition of in-EU roaming charges.

Right now people have to carry multiple SIM cards to get around roaming charges which is awkward.

Comment Encryption (Score 1) 161

The trend is for everything to become encrypted, anyway - so the whole thing will be moot.

Even our company's website defaults to https and we're not even a tech company. YouTube defaults to https. Google. Farcebook, Reddit. (Slashdot seems to be one of the few that don't).

If they start throttling a protocol, people will start making it look like https to work around the throttling - use port 443 and TLS 1.2.

Comment Re:An excuse (Score 1, Flamebait) 216

It makes the USA not at all insolvent. You're comparing apples to oranges. The USA has the ability to pay, Spain, not so much. The USA has positive growth. Spain is lurching in and out of economic contraction (and suffering some brain drain as the people leaving university go elsewhere in Europe rather than facing 50% unemployment, with the only jobs for graduates being mostly waiters). By contrast many people are trying to get *into* the US.

Spain also does not have its own currency. Its debt is more like your household debt than typical sovereign debt - it lacks the usual controls a government has. Spain can't set its own interest rates. The USA can set its own interest rates. Also since lenders money is also sloshing towards Germany (because Germany is much safer), the rate on Spanish bonds has to be very high to attract anyone at all to lend to Spain. On the other hand, the USA effectively pays a negative yield to its bond holders. Also, because the USA has its own currency, if people start fleeing US bonds they are effectively selling dollars which will have a stabilizing negative feedback effect (it will lower the cost of the dollar).

You can't simply compare debt to GDP and niaevely say "USA is worse off than Spain".

Comment Re:The freedom of not having a car (Score 1) 242

This is a big "if". I live in an area well served by public transport - the frequency is good, but due to geography it is very slow. The bus meanders around every tiny village, and although there is a bus stop 50m from my house, the nearest it gets to my work place is about 10 minutes walk away. It would take me an hour to go the 12.5 miles to work by bus plus the walk at the end.

If the weather's nice I ride my bike to work. It's 12.5 hilly miles each way. I'm not Lance Armstrong, I never even wear lycra, but I can actually beat the bus on my bicycle, the bus journey is so slow. In fact I can not only beat the bus, but I have enough time to take a shower and still arrive at my desk before I would had I caught the bus.

By car it's barely a 20 minute drive.

The thing is once you own a car, much of the cost is fixed and you'll pay it whether you drive or not, so it becomes uneconomical not to drive once you've sunk all that money into the annual fixed costs, so the additional cost of driving once you've paid everything else is basically fuel and a little bit for wear. Public transport you have to cover the fixed cost pro-rated into your journey so it ends up being more expensive than the incremental cost of driving.

The upshot is that I only take the bus if I'm intending to go out drinking in town and won't be in a fit state to drive home, or if I'm going to the airport.

Comment Re:This is a solution looking for a problem. (Score 1) 223

Lithium batteries don't explode, they burn. Quite vigorously, but not an explosion or anything near being an explosion.

The main difference between a bird flying near aircraft and a drone is that birds are actually pretty good at avoiding collisions (especially with aircraft doing less than 90 knots or so, in other words a typical GA aircraft taking off or landing). Despite the colossal numbers of birds, it's rare that they collide with aircraft. Drones on the other hand don't have this ability right now - FPV systems have very narrow fields of view and poor resolution, and there's no sound.

I don't think registration is the solution, though. Geofencing would be much better on any RTF or ARF drone (and those who can build their own non-geofenced model aircraft are almost always the people who have thought about it and would operate responsibly anyway).

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux