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Comment: Re:The day human beings become rational ... (Score 1) 1029

I think your parent means thirty minutes since sitting down fifteen minutes before showtime. And I will add that every one of the half-dozen cinemas I have frequented since forever (in both Atlanta and Raleigh) has routinely showed a full 15 minutes of previews after the supposed start time. So having to wait 30 minutes after sit-down sounds about right to me.

And they are that loud. Count yourself lucky, wherever you are.

Comment: Re:Book review (Score 1) 253

4-digit octal (who came up with that?)

People (okay, men) who had twelve bits to work with. It's a very old system, and flying computers were pretty rare at the time.

Anyway, I can see this conversation is going nowhere. You provided no evidence to support your position, you don't seem able to decide if you're claiming that the system is vulnerable to spoofing (super hard) or jamming (easy, until the cops show up), and telling me that "timing itself could be spoofed" doesn't give confidence that you have a working mental model of how the system operates. Thanks for playing.

Comment: Re:Book review (Score 1) 253

There's a pretty good chance that I have more experience with the FAA than you do, and I think you're wrong about it being easy to deceive current radar-based systems. Airplanes transmit 'locally unique' 4-digit octal integers when interrogated by radar sites. Timing is critical to determining both range and direction. Sounds hard to spoof to me. Got any evidence otherwise?

Comment: Re:10 Amendment (Score 1) 247

by Oswald (#39948499) Attached to: Password Protection Act: Bans Bosses Asking For Facebook Passwords

I suppose it's the catch-all "necessary and proper" thing. Honestly, you're not going to get anywhere with this argument--that ship has sailed. Congress does whatever it wants except when the executive decides just to ignore them or the courts decide to overturn them. One of the worst drawbacks to judicial review is that by relieving Congress of final responsibility for the constitutionality of laws, it promotes an attitude of "pass it, brag to the folks back home about it, and if the Court overturns it, we get to do it all over again."

Comment: Re:It's not Entrapment. (Score 5, Insightful) 573

by Oswald (#39863459) Attached to: NY Times: 'FBI Foils Its Own Terrorist Plots'

you'll end up with fewer people willing or able to buy the real stuff

True in a very general sense, but it misses why these stings waste time and money. To continue with your metaphor, these fakes--though of reasonable quality--are priced so low that only boobs would be taken in by them. So you're not taking legitimate buyers off the street; you're enticing idiots who were probably never going to be buyers of the genuine item into grasping for a "bargain".

Comment: Re:Attention, screeching children (Score 1) 319

by Oswald (#39840501) Attached to: Fly-By-Wire Contributed To Air France 447 Disaster

To another responder who also felt I might be overlooking The Telegraph's bias, I said this. Perhaps you missed that, or perhaps you read it and considered it an insufficient admission of my own ignorance, but it's about all I can say on the subject. I'm actually quite a bit more qualified to comment on both the aviation aspects of the situation and the team dynamics involved than I have said. I omitted all that because I didn't want to muddy the waters with my own opinions when I was only making a plea for civilized, rational discourse. But the politics? I don't claim to know.

I do know that where there's a legitimate question, you can't just shout down the questioner because his motives are suspect.

Comment: Re:Attention, screeching children (Score 1) 319

by Oswald (#39839453) Attached to: Fly-By-Wire Contributed To Air France 447 Disaster

I'm aware of the "special relationship." I don't see a lot of signs here of its influence, but who knows? It seems clear to me that some speculation about the role of the Airbus controls in this crash is warranted. That's all I was trying to say. Not that there are no politics involved, not that there's no room for disagreement about causes and blame--just that a crash occurred, there are multiple mechanical and human factors involved, and it's not helpful for people to just shout each other down. This is serious business.

Comment: Attention, screeching children (Score 5, Insightful) 319

by Oswald (#39837179) Attached to: Fly-By-Wire Contributed To Air France 447 Disaster

Red herring #1: This isn't news.
--Maybe not to some of us. But TFA is new, and in a more general publication than the sources many of you have cited.

Red herring #2: This is an American anti-Airbus hit piece.
--Probably not. The Telegraph is a UK publication, and the title seems deliberately designed NOT to call out Airbus. See #3...

Red herring #3: The title blames FBW, that is a separate issue from back-driven controls.
--Quite right. Perhaps the author wished to avoid seeming anti-Airbus; perhaps he just wasn't precise in his phrasing. You sure don't have to read far to find out the truth.

Red herring #4: This is bullshit. The pilots fucked up.
--Perhaps you're not familiar with the English phrase "contributed to." It doesn't mean the same as "caused." In any safety-critical occupation, a piece of equipment that obscures the actions of one of the team members impedes the type of cross-checking that was a major reason for using a team in the first place.

No system is perfect. People are perfectly free to say that they think this is a minor issue which will only come up in very rare circumstances, more than compensated for by merits of the side-stick. Others might argue that the risks outweigh the benefits. I am smart enough to know that I am not qualified to have an opinion on the issue.

I'm just tired of the hysteria here.

Comment: Re:Of course. (Score 5, Insightful) 1174

by Oswald (#39805503) Attached to: TSA Defends Pat Down of 4-Year-Old Girl

This +5 Insightful communication operates at pretty much the same level as my dogs' communication when they see a stranger out the front window. The bad news: you're not as tough as you think you are. The good news: you're probably not as reckless and violent as you want to think you are, either.

Here's hoping it's all fantasy, and you don't actually have a daughter to expose to these kinds of "Insight".

Comment: Re:Genetically Modified Hogs next? (Score 5, Funny) 233

by Oswald (#39791155) Attached to: Scientists Clone Sheep With 'Good' Fat

When chickens are raised on a diet or worms that grow in fresh cow dung, the consistency, flavor, and overall health of their eggs is substantially higher than what is generally available in the supermarket.

For some reason, the more you talk up animal products, the more I want to become a vegan.

Comment: Re:How is that different from simply old age? (Score 4, Interesting) 140

by Oswald (#39756185) Attached to: Is Middle Age Evolution's Crowning Achievement?

I would agree that any attempt to define middle age solely in terms of calendar age is bound to be arbitrary. But the summary hits the important distinctions with "resilient, healthy, energy-efficient and productive." At some point for each person (who lives long enough) the advantages of experience can't make for the physical decline, and we transition from "middle age" to "old age."

Of course these terms are pathetically vague, and we need better ones that say what we mean, but the distinction itself is real.

You can not get anything worthwhile done without raising a sweat. -- The First Law Of Thermodynamics

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