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Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 508

It's not just that. When you're cruising on the highway, you're not shifting, so that part is taken out of the equation. But automatics all have higher highway fuel economy figures than manuals in the same vehicle/engine. It's because of gearing: they make the gears taller for automatics than for manuals, so at highway speeds the manual driver's engine is buzzing at 1000rpm higher. With an auto, you can afford to have the engine speed lower because it's so fast and easy to downshift when needed. They probably don't offer a really tall 6th gear for manual drivers because they'd complain about having to constantly downshift it on hills or for passing, or they'd be lugging their engines.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 508

An "autostick" transmission is just an automatic that lets you override the computer for gear changes. My Mazda3 has one of these. They're extremely common these days. They do shift smoothly, as you'd expect of an automatic.

What you're talking about is a "DSG" transmission. That's really different, and you're right, they do shift extremely quickly but more jerkily than a normal auto. Theoretically, they have better performance and fuel economy than normal autos, since there's no torque converter. They're also pretty rare: only VW-group cars and some Fords have them to my knowledge. There's been a lot of reliability complaints about the Ford ones.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 508

Oh for fuck's sake, are you really this stupid? Here's a fucking link:

$96.72. No, it's probably not the most expensive Hakko station. There's also this one:

At $236.40, it's still less than half of that mythical $500 Hakko. Hakkos have never been highly expensive. I got my first Hakko (a 936 IIRC) over a decade ago for less than $100 at Fry's.

You need at least 2 temp settings for two dif solder types, you need quick and intuitive airflow manipulation for rework.

There's no "airflow manipulation" on a soldering station. You're thinking of a "SMT rework station", which is something else altogether. A "soldering station" is a soldering iron that's temperature-controlled, and usually has a handy stand with sponge and/or brass mesh for tip cleaning.

Yes, the ~$200 rework stations are indeed Chinese and not terribly high-quality. However, they actually work just fine for hot-air rework in my experience. (The soldering iron side, on the other hand, is complete junk.)

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 508

New cars don't even have keys to start, they have keyless push-button starting systems that are integrated with the ECU. I'd like to see you try to start one with push-starting. A 2000 Neon is seriously old; that's 16 years old now, things have changed a lot. I'm not saying it's impossible because I'm not one of the engineers who's worked on these things, but I'm seriously doubting it'd work because of the way these things are tied together now: I'm betting the ECU would simply not continue to run the engine because it never got a signal from the push-button start module directing it to start the engine.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 508

Yes, it's not steer-by-wire, it's just an electric motor bolted onto the steering shaft to provide assist. Otherwise it's a totally standard rack-and-pinion steering system. Remember the old days when small cars didn't even have hydraulic assist, and had completely manual rack-and-pinion steering? Now slap an electric motor onto the steering shaft close to where it connects by U-joint to the rack, and you have a modern EPS system. The whole idea is that you really don't need much (if any) assist at highway speeds, so it doesn't bother wasting power at those times, only at low speeds. Mechanically, the system is pretty simple; I'm sure the only reason they didn't do this before is because the motor control aspect was too difficult and expensive to do before; now with modern power electronics and microcontrollers it's not. Being able to electronically drive a motor in either direction in a very exact manner to precise angular positions, and for a price reasonable for a mass-market car, is actually a pretty new thing. It just wasn't possible 25 years ago, unless you were willing to spend a ton of money and have a huge box full of electronics.

As for feedback, that's probably due to design; they might have provided a bit too much assist or overcompensated for resistance from the wheels or something. Every car's is different of course. A lot of the early EPS systems were criticized for being too numb. The one in my Mazda seems to work really well, but I can see how a Chrysler probably isn't as driver-oriented given the target market.

Comment Re:Excess (Score 1) 210

Also, creating a huge shaded area should create an interesting micro-climate underneath the power plant.

This. From my admittedly limited ecological studies, there's not a lot of life out in the 'high desert'. Instead, the life there tends to cling(relatively) to sheltered bits.

Increasing the amount of shelter could drastically increase the amount of life in the desert by providing more shelter. Much like how rather then disrupting and killing off wildlife, the trans-alaskan pipeline is often used as a travel lane and shelter by the caribou, moose, and such.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 189

Sidebar: Any chance that was an actual experiment to document what would happen? I'm not saying it would be right to jeopardize people like that, but you have to know how the system will react.

Nope, the professional driver was just being a moron. The cars have extensive logging though, so they knew precisely what happened.

Comment Re:Already??? (Score 1) 243

what made her think that she's right for this job?

You could make an argument that nobody is "right" for this job and that the best possible qualification is somebody with excellent executive (the adjective, not the position) functioning skills and management ability. The President doesn't actually do very much but make decisions and usually based on information provided by extremely qualified specialists with decades of experience.

The biggest inherent skills a President probably needs are, sadly, personal charisma and political intelligence.

Comment 7 and 8 are just guesses, but here is evidence: (Score 2) 231

A few of the many stories about backdoors in U.S. hardware:

D-Link: Reverse Engineering a D-Link Backdoor (Oct. 12, 2013)

Arris: 600,000 Arris cable modems have 'backdoors in backdoors', researcher claims (Nov. 20, 2015)

Juniper Networks: Juniper drops NSA-developed code following new backdoor revelations (Jan. 10, 2016)

Cisco: Snowden: The NSA planted backdoors in Cisco products (May 15, 2014)

Netgear: Netgear Patch Said to Leave Backdoor Problem in Router (April 23, 2014)

Windows 8: NSA Backdoor Exploit in Windows 8 Uncovered (Aug. 22, 2013)

Windows: NSA "backdoor" mandates lead to a computer-security FREAK show Quote: "Microsoft Windows OS vulnerable to hackers, thanks to National Security Agency requirements." (March 6, 2015)

Windows: NSA Built Back Door In All Windows Software by 1999 (June 7, 2013)

Hard drives: Breaking: Kaspersky Exposes NSA's Worldwide, Backdoor Hacking of Virtually All Hard-Drive Firmware (Feb. 17, 2015)

Is every backdoor the work of the NSA? There is no way of knowing.

Comment Re:Re-entry aiming (Score 1) 202

There's a very slim chance that there may be an extremely secret cabal of very high level DPRK leadership that have some kind of "we're gonna die anyway" plan for deposing Fearless Leader in the event he goes all the way off the reservation and starts a war with a major power like the US.

But...Kim Jong-Un executed a whole bunch of very senior guys not long after he took power, including guys who had been close to his father for decades and he also is fond of shuffling top generals from time to time. All of this is designed to put the "fear of Juche" into his senior leadership and make any kind of coup plan impossible to organize.

Plus it's such a shit-ass backwards place to live that you just know the good perks (like eating, heat in the winter, and other luxuries) are doled out to anyone willing to squeal anything remotely like a coup attempt and I'm sure they all squeal on each all the time in a desperate attempt to keep their positions and perks.

It may be debatable how long the DPRK army is able and willing to fight. Fuel shortages could be a problem and their army is hardly positively motivated to stay in the fight, especially if they had to face something like sustained heavy air campaigns involving carpet, thermobaric or firebombing. Cut supply lines, morale, etc. may cause them to collapse early. Or given the last 50 years available, they may be so deeply dug in that they are able to ride it out for months.

Comment Re:User error (Score 1) 508

I'm not saying the differential between the automatic and the manual is all that much these days, it's not, but if you are on the highway the manual is going to be better.

You're 100% wrong, for new cars. Go look at *any* 2015-16 car offered in both manual and automatic and compare the highway fuel economy (and the city economy too, while you're at it). The automatic will *always* beat the manual.

There's a simple reason for this: modern automatics have at least as many speeds as manuals, and their tallest gears are taller than those on the manuals. The manual simply cannot get equivalent fuel economy when it's running the engine 1000rpm higher in 6th gear. And there's a simple reason for this: automatics are close to lugging the engine, but they don't dip low enough to cause problems because they just downshift when they need to, since they can do it in milliseconds. Manual drivers can't, so they make the gear ratios lower so a driver stomping on the gas in 6th when passing on the highway actually gets some throttle response instead of lugging the engine. Also, I think there's an assumption that manual drivers just don't care about fuel economy so they intentionally pick lower ratios (and final-drive ratio) for better performance.

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