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Comment: Re:Hai! (Score 1) 98

by JanneM (#48042255) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

That piece is kind of crap. The main reason is that the summer holidays are over. The kids are in school (and busy with clubs, homework and so on on the weekends) and the parents are working. And as most bathers are gone, so are the drink vendors, the equipment renters and so on.You'll still find people on beaches, just not many.

Comment: Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (Score 3, Insightful) 475

by JanneM (#48024761) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

"Indeed, in Japan, only the western half of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu have enough sunny days to justify large-scale rooftop solar installations."

Which is why one of the largest solar plants opened near Sendai in northern Honshu a couple years back? What conditions are profitable depend on the technology you use, and the cost of production. And as solar cost decreases and efficiency increases more locations will be realistic.

Comment: Re:Why didn't they seek protection? (Score 4, Informative) 41

by JanneM (#48009265) Attached to: Japan's Mt. Ontake Erupts, Stranding Hundreds of Hikers

The video is deceiving; that trail is much steeper than it looks. Slowly stumbling downwards is pretty much all they could do. Also, most deaths from eruptions are either from poisonous gas or from heat. A small hut will shield you from neither. But both gas concentration and heat will disspiate by distance, so simply trying to get away from it may well be your best chance to survive.

Comment: Re:Copter data (Score 1) 92

by JanneM (#48003439) Attached to: DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

So why are people generally using quadcopters for autonomous systems? What's the disadvantage of a single-rotor copter when you're doing autonomous flight? I can imagine that perhaps it's a size issue - quadcopters are lighter or cheaper or more efficient below a certain size or when indoors? Or is it much more difficult to write a reliable control system for a single-rotor system?

Comment: Copter data (Score 5, Insightful) 92

by JanneM (#48001821) Attached to: DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

Here's some data on the hardware, from

* 65 km/h peak speed, and will cover the distance in about 15-30 minutes;
* It weighs 5kg, and can carry a payload of up to 1.2kg

With 1.2kg it can certainly carry a complement of medicines or even small, urgently needed hardware and parts (batteries or spare bits for medical equipment for instance). Not general use of cours, but it does look like more than just a stunt.

Programmers do it bit by bit.