You can add binary repos to Macports, if you wish. Macports is trying to provide something like BSD ports on OSX, though, so compiling from source is the default behavior. I will say that for my purposes, Macports has been less hassle than either Fink or Brew. It has the the best variety in software and works fairly reliably. All three, unfortunately, suffer from the fact that they don't control the system so OS and Xcode updates can and do break packages.
This is simply false. Selective Availability is turned off, meaning the accuracy is no longer intentionally degraded on the unencrypted L1 channel, but the encrypted L2 signal is still broadcast and it is still restricted to military equipment precisely to prevent spoofing. GPS Block III will add an encrypted L2C signal so that civilian airliners and other safety-critical applications can have access to a spoof-resistant GPS signal.
Seems to me a lot of what you want doesn't fit into the vision of KA. You want to be able to control what content the students see and when they see it, so that you can keep the entire class working on the same stuff at the same time and at the same pace. That's in opposition to what I understand to be Khan's goal of encouraging self-directed learning, where students learn at their own pace, ability, and interest. So, the long and short of it is that I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for KA to implement these features given their limited resources and goals.
This is true, but from my experience anything involving "signatures" is much more difficult to share with foreigners, including our closest allies. I've had trouble sharing signature data between allies operating exactly the same equipment, let alone something one party has but the other does not. I doubt F-22 emissions data is shared at all, at any level.
I always thought Opera's selling points had more to do with the customizable UI, and not so much to do with it's rendering engine. For your typical end-user, the impact of Opera having a unique rendering engine is that some pages look funny in Opera because few websites test against Presto. Webkit can't be ignored these days, so by adopting it Opera has less to worry about and gets an engine that keeps up-to-date at a much lower cost than rolling their own. Moreover, should Opera wish to add features to the rendering engine (such as new proposals for the HTML spec) it's a hell of a lot easier to get other to adopt them when you've implemented it in Webkit than a closed source implementation in Presto. It's a win for everyone; the only surprise to me is that they didn't adopt an open renderer sooner.
This is exactly right. I myself earned a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at a top research university--I'm fortunate to have an American-born mother and have been able to continue to work on my research in the US after earning my degree, but more of my classmates were foreign students. Not only do they have a difficult time getting green cards after graduating, but they're unable to find jobs in the US because most Aerospace jobs are defense or government related and the US government has made it very difficult for foreign nationals to work in US research centers or for defense contractors. So after being trained to do research in militarily useful areas, and after they try and fail to find jobs in the US, these students are forced to go back home and end up contributing to foreign defense industries.
Now, you might say that US graduate programs should hire on more US graduate students--but the reality is, there just aren't that many qualified students applying to engineering graduate programs and bringing in students from abroad massively increases the selection pool and therefore quality of grad students available to faculty. That students the world over want to, and are allowed to, enter US graduate programs is a big part of why US academic research is still the envy of the world, even though the US has declined from the top spot in many other areas. Grad students, who are really just "research apprentices" do most of the research work coming out of universities, with faculty supervising, directing, and selling research programs. Limiting foreign admission would be an enormous blow to US STEM academia and our overall research output. The best option is to figure out how we can retain the best foreign students in the US. One solution might be for the US government to expand it's national labs greatly, admit foreign nationals on the path the citizenship, and directly support basic research outside of the academic system. More US jobs in basic research might also stimulate more US students to apply to graduate programs in STEM, and overall, would help the US to maintain it's gradually decaying edge in the high tech sector.
I've tried several times to migrate to Octave, but it's still just not good enough of a "MATLAB-clone" to really replace MATLAB for my purposes. I run MATLAB through EMACS matlab-mode, so I don't care about the editor or GUI.
What keeps me away from Octave is:
1) MATLAB is much faster at solving most problems.
2) Much of the capability available in Mathworks supported toolboxes is missing from Octave.
3) Handle graphics capabilities are now available in Octave, but lag far behind MATLAB. I don't write MATLAB GUIs, but many others do, and I sometimes need to run their code.
On the other hand, scientific computing support in Python is pretty good and rapidly improving. If I just wanted capability "like" MATLAB, I'd use Python. However, in most engineering R&D environments, MATLAB support is important for collaboration, and here is where Octave could be useful were it more comparable to MATLAB.
Fine, but by a similar arguments space exploration as a whole, manned or unmanned, is basically worthless. Learning about Martian soil is unlikely to, in and of itself, provide any economic or "practical" payback to those of us here on Earth in the utilitarian sense you seem to advocate. Instead of worrying about space, we should allocate our money to things with more immediate and predicable impact; there's no shortage of opportunities in medical research or technological development in energy, transportation, or computing where money could be better spent by your measure.
Yet, clearly adventure, wonder, art, and exploration are highly valued by most people--a huge portion of our privately funded economic activity is directed towards these things which have seemingly no economic value, and has been throughout recorded history. And just like more "practical" areas, sometimes there are projects so big and so risky that no single private entity can take them on, but that doesn't mean they're wasteful. You don't here anyone say that they sure wished the Byzantine's didn't waste their resources building the Hagia Sophia or the Americans the Apollo project, because while there's no obvious practical benefits to either which couldn't have been met more efficiently though direct spending towards practical applications, both had immeasurable cultural value.
I feel the same way about manned spaceflight today--the only good reason to explore the universe is for the adventure, because it's exciting, interesting, inspiring, and enlightening. In short, because it makes us better. And I see no better way to meet that objective than through manned spaceflight.
Expecting space science, whether conducted by robot or man, to cure the sick or increase economic productivity is like expecting to buy a winning lottery ticket. So if science is your only justification for space flight you shouldn't expect space flight to last much longer because we can do "better" science for cheaper right here on Earth, and there's no shortage of ideas to fund.
Quite correct--new technology development is a good thing for the military, the taxpayer, and of course US industry. But we need to arrest "Augustine's Law," the sort of Moore's law for the cost of US military aircraft. New aircraft should be designed to be much cheaper than the old aircraft they replace, and new technology should be used to make design trades towards economy, not just performance as in the past. As new aircraft come online, we need to abandon older vehicles with high maintenance costs. In the political realm, we also need to reorient our objectives for the military--in the long term the US will no longer be the overwhelmingly dominant player in the Western world (not to say it won't be important, even the most important). Accordingly, the US should not aim to be the overwhelmingly dominant military force for the West; let's get our NATO allies to build the capability to project power. For example, the next time France and the UK want to intervene in North Africa, they should be able to do it without the logistical support of the US.
You're wrong about the V-22; the development program was long delayed and over budget, and several complications arose during testing. However, since operational deployment, the aircraft has an excellent safety record--in fact much better than the CH-47s it's been replacing. Your opinion on the aircraft is dated, and doesn't represent how things have turned out in actual practice. And unlike the F-22, the V-22 is very well suited to recent types of conflicts--it can rescue downed pilots or deploy a special forces assault team more quickly and over a longer range the a conventional helicopter (at the cost of less payload and more complexity).
The F-22 is a different beast, but we've already stopped production and now have these airframes. We should work out the issues, and there's nothing fundamental to say we can't do so, and then take older airframes offline once the F-22 is fit for combat operations as newer airframes are cheaper to maintain than older ones, even the F-22. We should probably also build a minimal complement of F-35, and then actually replace the remainder of our combat aircraft resulting in a much smaller total fleet, sized more to our needs. The US is losing its status as hegemon of the Western world, and look to itself as just one of a bunch of Western democracies--part of this is to scale back militarily and let the other NATO countries take a bigger role in their own military defense and power projection.
Lastly, as for UAVs the days are over where they are necessarily cheaper than manned aircraft--so much capability is demanded from these aircraft that in the end, they're now costing as much as manned vehicles, and consequently corners can't be cut on reliability, either. Vehicles like the Predator and Global Hawk are actually requiring more ground crew than comparable manned aircraft in order to interpret incoming data and act on it effectively. They will play a bigger role in the future, for sure, but don't think building UCAVs to replace F-22s will save a single penny.
Steamworks DRM is an option, but not a requirement, for anyone who uses Steamworks when developing their game. And it's fairly unobtrusive. Some games will use both Steamworks and more invasive DRM. But you're right, many games come through Steam totally DRM free. For instance, you can just copy many of the Paradox Interactive titles from their install folder and put them on a different computer, and they'll just run.
It's interesting that the two big complaints seem to be:
a) Projects give no guaranteed return, and there's ironclad way to prevent people from taking the money and doing nothing.
b) The developers who are doing well on Kickstarter are very well known "traditional" developers making games of the type they've made before.
Seems to me that the second point addresses the first. Someone like Tim Schaefer or Brian Fargo has a reputation to uphold and would absolutely destroy that if they promised a game then did nothing. These guys absolutely have their careers on the line when they go with this approach, in a way they've never been exposed to with traditional publishing, where failure means the publisher either cancels the project or decides to inject more cash than was initially anticipated. People know this, know these guys are at risk, and know they have the experience and good track record to have good odds of delivering on their promises, and that's a big part of why they can get 7 figure funding where the unknowns can't (and probably shouldn't!).
On the other hand, it not as though there aren't successfully funded indie games in novel genres from true first-time developers. A good example which was recently funded is FTL, which is a sort of graphical space-rougelike focused on crew management which raised over $200,000, which is about 20x what was asked. Part of what got them there was having a playable demo of the game to show that they could deliver. Just like anything else, you've got to start small and work up, but Kickstarter can provide a few thousand dollars in seed funding to even the littlest guys where they had nothing before, and that can certainly make a difference. That developers with no reputation, experience, other day jobs, and only an idea to show for it are not receiving millions is a good thing--that would be a recipe for disaster.
Thread is dead, but this is just dead wrong. All certified helicopters can autorotate safely at the hands of an average pilot. The autorotation descent velocity is much much much slower than the terminal velocity of the airframe--that's a flat out ridiculous claim you are making. In fact, simple physics you can look up in any introductory helicopter aerodynamics text tells you that in a vertical autorotation the helicopter will descend at about twice the hover induced velocity (proportional to disk loading)--and in practice will descend at half that speed during forward flight. To run some numbers on a big heavy and poorly autorotating helicopter, the CH-53 will descend vertically at 85 ft/s without power, or about 43 ft/s in forward flight. That's 2500 fpm, which is sporty but survivable. The actual speed of the helicopter as it hits the ground will be much lower still, as the pilot bleeds stored kinetic energy from the rotor system to arrest the rate of descent just before landing. Now let's estimate the aircraft terminal velocity--flat plate drag area of the helicopter airframe is about 45 sq. ft. for the CH-53A. Solving for drag equal to the weight of the helicopter, that gives me a terminal velocity of *865 ft/s* TWENTY TIMES the autorotatative rate of descent. And this is one of the worst autorotating helicopter of all time, thanks to it's huge size--all commercial helicopters do better. Don't make stuff up if you have no idea--while it's generally true that gyroplanes have lower autorotation descent rates, it's not that big a difference and in practice commercial helicopters are held to much higher safety standards than the current field of kit-built "experimental" gyroplanes out there. You simply can't get a helicopter which can't autorotate certified.
Exactly. The problem isn't education; the US has the best university system in the world, bar none. For all of the talk about it, even our elementary and secondary schools systems are good, and we have a huge spread in quality (directly related to economic inequality) such that while we have a number of really bad schools in poor areas, we also have many world-class schools in middle and upper class areas.
The real problem is that our society doesn't value STEM these days. One obvious factor is that salaries aren't high enough to encourage Americans to enter technical fields--but it's not just the money. R&D funding is at an all time low, so there are fewer exciting things to motivate students to enter technical fields. We're no longer seriously taking on huge engineering projects like hypersonic aircraft, space elevators, manned missions to points outside Earth orbit, or alternative sources of power. We talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, the funding is slowly ratcheted down year after year. This is the stuff that inspires children to dream of becoming engineers, but instead these dreams from the early 80s seem to be drifting farther and farther from reality. You can't ramp R&D up overnight either--real progress takes sustained effort over many years, and you start falling back as soon as you let up on the gas.
A lack of exciting projects is correlated to a lack of cultural interest in science and technology. People don't seem to care anymore about space exploration or fusion power. We have an entire political movement which denies global warming, regardless of the evidence, and smaller groups who are so mistrustful and misunderstanding of science that they oppose things like vaccination or the fundamentals of whole fields like geology and biology. We have a culture where television programming about science can't survive, and people from all walks of life take pride in their ignorance of basic math and science. I don't know what causes this, and I'm not sure how to fix it. In 1957 Sputnik scared America straight, and kicked off two generations of sustained investment in STEM, which contributed in part to the cultural, economic, and military dominance the US has enjoyed since. The dominance is waning, but when China announces a space exploration program and then begins to deliver on it in record time, America doesn't even seem to notice. I'm not sure what it'll take to change things. It's easy to blame politicians for their poor priorities, but in this case, they really are reflecting the will of the people. Can America aspire to technological brilliance again?
I used to work as an engineer in the auto industry, at a major parts design company which worked with virtually every manufacturer, and you couldn't be more wrong. Cars are better than they've ever been, and there are plenty of data to support that fact. Almost every car built today, barring only a handful of individual lemons, will exceed 250k mi on the original engine without a rebuild with normal maintenance--a rarity for the all metal cars of yesteryear. And that maintenance is less and less year over year with 10k+ mi oil changes now standard, going on up to 30k in many models.
Modern plastics are cheaper, but they're also lighter, chemical and corrosion resistant, non-conductive, and often tougher; there are so many more options for plastics these days than there used to be, and tooling costs have dropped dramatically with the adoption of CNC, so it's no wonder these materials are more and more widely used. Wiring gauges have decreased--so what? Why carry around more weight than you need? Modern digital electronics mean less power is being transmitted to individual devices, and modern systems are operating at higher voltages, both of which mean lower current which means more safety with smaller gauge wiring.
Automakers, even the American ones, most definitely do care how long cars lasts and don't intentionally design them to fail on the second owner or after the warranty period. All manufacturers design parts with intended lives well beyond the warranty period; but you can't design for forever. Enhanced component life costs you money and saps performance. So there's a balance, but car manufacturers know they're in this game for the long haul, more than just about any other industry I've been involved with, and they know that when someone's suffers a catastrophic failure after six years, that informs not only their next purchasing decision, but that of all their friends and family. American companies see 20 year old Honda Civics driving around now and *know* that's powerful advertising for Hondas sold today. Everyone in the industry wants to be last generation's Honda. JD Power may not be the most scientific survey, but it's absolutely no surprise that the industry has converged to a high standard of quality.
Lastly, to address some other points people made about the death of the shadetree mechanic; I can't believe that the