I can't imagine this actually working, particularly once the drones exit dense urban spaces for the suburbs. The first kid with a BB gun is going to figure out he can get a free drone and a surprise present. Unless the drones are sending back continuous 360 degree spherical video so the perps can be caught, this scheme is just ready for a stealin'.
To me, it's all about the price, otherwise I'd own one by now.
My three cars, together, barely cost me $30k. $17k for my Ridgeline, $16k for my S2000, and $3k for my del Sol that actually sucks up most of the miles. So, for $36k I have three cars, each appropriate for different things, and not one range-limited electric that's only really any good at being a commuter car. Since 700 miles in a day isn't uncommon for me due to work and hobbies, an electric can't be my only car.
I did think about converting the last del Sol over to electric when the engine gave out at 310k, but it just wasn't worth the investment in time and materials. Electrification would have never paid for itself over another 15 year old car that I'll put 150-200k miles on and bought for $3k.
Much like I really wish they'd play a World Series sometime during my lifetime. But in my world, it's only a World Series if the Cubs are in it. Otherwise it's like it doesn't even exist.
Right behind a decent handheld DMM, a scope is about the second piece of bench gear I recommend to anyone. Old used digital scopes are so darn cheap anymore (my TDS340A that I've had for 18 years can now be had for $250-400 on eBay), and they really help you visualize what's going on in the circuit. I'd give up just about every other piece of real lab gear I own to keep my scope, because the rest is either for specific past projects, or is just nicer to work with, but could be substituted with lesser quality gear. There's no substitute for a decent scope in my opinion, but I do a lot of pure analog or serial stuff where being able to capture and stare at a waveform can go a long way towards finding a problem. Plus, all that digital eventually gets down to the real world, where ugly analog problems eventually rear their head again (slew rate, parasitics, transmission line uglies, etc.)
I'd bet I have my scope fired up 80% of the time that I'm not strictly working on firmware, and probably 20-30% of the time that I'm just working on code.
My main bench gear:
- Tektronix TDS340A scope
- HP 33401 bench DMM
- A couple various portable DMMs - one Fluke 87V, a couple cheapo Chinese, and a couple super cheapo Harbor Freight
- Saleae Logic16 logic analyzer (awesome tool, by the way...)
- Four old Lambda LLS lab power supplies
- Old HP 3310B function generator
- For soldering, a Hakko 936 iron, modified toaster oven for reflowing, and a hot air rework station
- a pile of other strippers, crimpers, pliers, screwdrivers, tweezers, magnifiers, and assorted hand tools including my favorite Xcelite MS-545-J cutters
- USBtinyISP for programming AVRs, Picstart 2 for programming PICs
- Mendelmax 3d printer for printing out parts and prototypes
- And a pile of other stuff to make the work more pleasant - my dev PC, a beer fridge, a TV, a Blu-ray player, a mythtv frontend box, a laser printer, bins of electrical and mechanical parts, datasheets I use frequently, etc.
I like all of the stuff, and wouldn't trade any of it, though I keep thinking about one of those new Agilent DSOX2024 scopes. I probably won't, though - my old Tek does well enough, and it has a great deal of sentimental value for all the years and projects we've done together. The only thing I'd really like is waveform capture on something that wasn't a 3.5" floppy...
Woohoo! I've always wanted somebody to notice my exceptional dullness and weirdness, and finally someone has. Now I'm somebody again!
I agree with your comment about pigs. It's really too bad they're so tasty, because they really are damn smart creatures.
That said, butchered many, many things over the years. Grew up on a farm. Doesn't bother me a bit that I'm still a carnivore.
As far as the death penalty, if we want to make it a deterrant, then it needs to be public. I'm all for public hangings. I think if the public wasn't so disconnected from the actual punishment, it a) would act as a deterrant, and b) would provide a catalyst for a discussion about our use of the death penalty. Then again I have a rather interesting view of what punishments are appropriate for what crimes. I'd like to add arson to the list of crimes you can be put to death for (particularly arson against homes, historic structures or artifacts), and I'd like to see prisons turned into work camps rather than just crappy apartments. They have a debt to society for their crimes - I say they should be put to work doing anything they can to provide services back to the general public.
I'll take fusion any day over "renewables" - fusion should be able to pack a few GWe into a few hundred or thousand acres of space. Renewables, because of their inherent low energy density, will force us either to conserve or use most of our available open land for energy production. The promise of fusion is really low cost energy without limits. Given that everything we do and everything we aspire to requires more and more energy, I'd much prefer a pure fusion-driven future where conserving energy was a quaint notion.
Also, which fossil fuels exactly have we stolen from third world countries? Most of our power generation in the US comes from coal, which we produce almost exclusively domestically. Most of our natural gas comes from Canada, which isn't exactly a third world country. The only thing we import in scads in oil, and I guarantee, those who control the oil aren't getting stolen from. They're being paid very well. The wealth may not be very evenly distributed in the destination country, but that's hardly because the West "stole it".
Yeah, no sympathy here. I sit on the board of a local historic preservation society, and we're 501c3. We pay our accountant something like $1000/year (some of her rate is counted as an in-kind donation, but nothing we do is really that complicated) and she keeps the paperwork current and straightened out. I'm relatively sure that X.org runs with a bigger budget than we do and could find accounting services, so this is just gross incompetence on their part.
An Aussie friend from college routinely told us: "Fosters - Australian for crappy Yank beer."
And I agree. Godawful stuff.
Actually I find a good bit of truth in that comment. Many people think that the next big thing will "change everything" and somehow magically fix all their problems. I see it all the time in various jobs. Actual discussion the other day (names of things changed to protect the guilty):
One of those people: "Well, SuperProgram 11.7 can track events and send them to the manager's Blackberry!"
Me: "I could do that ten years ago by stringing shell scripts together and running it via cron. It's called email. Is there even a defendable business reason to that? The business requirements we have in front of us say that it needs to display an alert on terminal emulator screen that the actual users are used to using."
One of those people: "But why would you keep using that old terminal thing. SuperProgram 11.7 will make it all point and click and put it in a browser!"
Me: "Again, business reason to do that? Right now they spend all day on their terminal. Now you're going to make them pick up the mouse and switch between applications. And spend more money on this product to do it. These people are really fast with the interface they've gotten used to over the last twenty years."
One of those people: "But nobody knows how to use a terminal, and you can't do it on a tablet!"
Me: "Correction: you don't know how to use a terminal. We have lots of training material on how to use this thing. And there are no tablets in our data entry office. There are a bunch of people very skilled at using their terminal based app for data entry and retrieval, and a bunch of machines already set up to do that."
People always think the big shiny new thing is "better", rather than the old boring workhorse. Do those technologies have a place? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with sticking with terminal based text apps written in C and ncurses? Hell no, especially if you can't produce data to show that the users would be more productive on the new stuff.
I consider myself to usually be on the bleeding edge of technology, but phone-based boarding passes are right out. I've never had a piece of paper run out of power, but I've had my phone die halfway through the travel day for reasons unknown (turned into a little toaster and burned through its battery - presumably the radio got in a weird state) and have had it stolen while traveling. I keep two boarding passes, typically - one folded in my pocket, and one in my carry-on. If I lose one, I just grab the other one.
And yes, most of the time when my guests want to borrow a machine, it's because they need a printer for boarding passes.
Yup, the one I got rid of two years ago was 17 years old and had 308k miles on it. I still see it on the road around here from time to time. The "new" one that I found out in California last year is now 17, and only has 192,000 on it at the moment. Mid-1990s Hondas run like a top forever if you take care of them.
Plus there's my restored 1932 Chevy in the garage next to it, but it's only got about 50-60k on it total (and 10k since I last rebuilt the engine). So only eighty years there.
I have to agree with the parent - neutral or just shut the key off (though obviously not all the way to lock - that too would be seriously bad). Neutral has the downside of possibly leading to engine destruction depending on the failure mode (though very unlikely with modern ECUs and injection), but it's better than destroying the whole car and killing people in a wreck. I know some dingbats might not think of that in a crisis (my ex wife being a great example), but surely the police would think of that as a better idea than trying to clear miles and miles of freeway for this guy to burn up all the gas.
Yup, but your shiny new AP1000 runs day or night, rain or shine. Also, 16GW of nuclear is going to take up a whole lot less space than 16GW of PV.
Quite frankly, solar energy isn't that dense (only a couple kW per square meter) and aircraft require a tremendous amount of power to actually be able to move useful loads at useful speeds. Jet engines are usually rated in pounds of thrust, which I'm too lazy to go find the thrust-speed-altitude relationship to convert that to power. A number I could find was that a single C-130 turboprop engine is rated at about 3.3MW of output. So with four of them for one of these cargo haulers, that's about 13MW of power. Even assuming 100% conversion efficiency and 3 kW/m^2 at cruising altitude (it's roughly 1kW/m^2 at sea level, and 1.5kW/m^2 at 6000 feet, so this is probably close or a bit generous), you'd need 4333 square meters to collect enough power. The wingspan of a C-130 is 40 meters, so you've basically only got at most maybe 160 square meters of collecting area on the wings. And that's at 100% efficiency. Now consider that the overall system efficiency for photovoltaics would be around 10%, and that you'd need storage so you could take off, land, fly in the dark, and fly through clouds, and you've created something about the size of that flying quad-copter fortress from Avengers without all the actual coolness (or, say, adequate lift).
Nothing beats good old liquid hydrocarbons as fuel sources in terms of flexiblity and energy density.