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Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

Journal by mcgrew

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Comment: Re:Pilots crash planes (Score 1) 38

by Rich0 (#46794119) Attached to: DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

Good points. If humans were to be taken out of the loop obviously it will be necessary to change how the automation works, sometimes substantially. Anything that causes an autopilot disconnect, for example, obviously has to be redesigned (well, aside from pilot-triggered disconnects). There may also need to be an increase in redundancies as well so that the plane can remain fully automation even with failures. The algorithms also have to be designed to better handle a lack of sensor input, since all the pitot tubes icing up is always a possibility and so on.

Comment: Re:Pilots crash planes (Score 1) 38

by Rich0 (#46794105) Attached to: DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

No reason you couldn't have satellite telemetry on aircraft and a room full of test pilots somewhere standing by to assist if there is an emergency. Granted, you can't always guarantee communications, but if there is a failure it would be better to have the seasoned disaster recovery guy at the controls instead of whoever the seniority rules put on the route. Plus, the emergency team isn't limited to two crew members - they can have one guy who does nothing but fly the plane, another guy who does nothing but navigate, three engineers who do nothing but try to fix the broken systems, an overall command guy who does nothing but coordinate, one guy who handles communications, one guy who talks to the cabin crew, and so on - and they're all fresh having not spent 30 hours this week stuck on a plane.

But, I suspect that in many emergencies such a crew would often just manage the automation and provide supervision.

Even in a case where pitot tubes fail and such the automation CAN be improved, eliminating a potential source of accidents in the future. When a human learns, only that pilot improves unless you spend a LOT of time retraining the fleet (and the Air France pilots should have been trained in that maneuver anyway). When a computer program is adjusted, every plane in service improves, 100% of the time.

Comment: Re:Not the same, but tangentially related... (Score 1) 82

by vux984 (#46793537) Attached to: How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

It's human nature to occasionally (or always) speed and break minor traffic laws.

Indeed. I just had an argument with a local neighborhood group. They've gone and posted the speed limit at 10kph, but they don't want people to actually drive 10kph and even came out and admitted that... but they got the idea that you set it 10-15kph below what you want people to do, so they set it at 10kph to get people to drive 15 to 25 instead of.

The problem though is that set at 10kph, with the expectation that we drive 15-25 is that legally we're doing 50% to 100% and beyond over the posted speed limit, which as you can imagine is not merely 'speeding' but 'excessive speeding' and 'reckless driving' per the letter of the law. Sure the cops are probably never going to bother with a speed trap to nail me going a measly 22kph, but an automated GPS insurance monitoring system... will probably record that I do double the speed limit habitually... and assess my premiums accordingly.

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 3, Funny) 59

by ShieldW0lf (#46792269) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

The Ivy League was basically a formal gentleman's agreement (you know, back from the good old days where they banned women and blacks from campus and had strict quotas on Jews) that they would mutually agree to be terrible at sports in order to maintain high academic standards.

Everyone who attends an Ivy League school to play sports is someone who would have been a serious consideration for admission without their athletic ability.

Of course they're going to be terrible at sports. They don't have any black people on their team!

Comment: Re:I hate personal definitions (Score 1) 172

by ShieldW0lf (#46792191) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

Dude, you're the worst sort of person to argue with. You've demonstrated poor reading comprehension and a willingness to hand-wave away the distinction between similar words if you don't think they are relevant to you or serve your position. You seriously make me wonder why I even bother trying to express myself precisely

I never used the word explosion. I used the word detonation. I contrasted it with the deflagration that occurs in internal combustion engines like we see in cars.

A detonation occurs when the shock wave expanding out of the reaction zone compresses the unburnt fuel ahead of the wave, and the compressive heating raises the temperature in the unburnt fuel above it's autoignition temperature.

10 m/s is well below the threshold. Try 2000 m/s.

Detonation produces a more efficient combustion than deflagration, gives higher yields, and generates more kinetic force relative to the thermal energy released. It's a whole different kettle of fish.

Comment: Re:LaserJet II and LaserJet 3 (Score 1) 583

by rolfwind (#46790021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Or maybe they didn't try to shave a dime, nickel, or penny off of the cost in all the wrong places.

I swear most of my stuff that brakes is overwhelmingly not due to a big expensive part, but cheap shit where the labor costs 100x+ more to replace it than the part itself.

Even in cars, when it's electrical, where the new board or component cost several hundred $$$, the old one only died because some cheap ass component died but hard/uneconomical to track down.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 1) 217

by Rich0 (#46789929) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

In addition, STUFF BREAKS. Your UAS that depends on ADS-B for sense-and-avoid isn't going to see that Bonanza with a transponder failure.

So, require every plane to have 2 of them then, with independent everything. Require them to have fallback to a non-GPS satellite positioning system as well.

And that's all irrelevant anyway, as there is never going to be a requirement (at least probably not in my lifetime) for manned aircraft to have an ADS-B transponder anywhere they don't already need a Mode C transponder. That will never fly, pun intended. The vast majority of private pilots will never need ADS-B out, as they don't fly where it matters. There are huge swaths of airspace you can fly in WITHOUT A RADIO, much less a transponder. This is a matter of philosophy: the airspace of the United States belongs to the people, and they should have free use of it. The FAA is only supposed to provide the minimum amount of regulation and oversight to keep everyone safe.

The problem is that this kind of mindset keeps general aviation (and aviation in general) stuck in the 20s. Why do aircraft spin on turn to final? Well, for starters, because there IS a turn to final - something completely unnecessary if you have the ability to do a precision approach to any runway with an RNAV with traffic awareness.

Of course, it is a sword that cuts both ways, because legally right now you can fly an unmanned drone anywhere in the US, commercial or not, monitored or not. Cite a law or regulation that says otherwise (hint, you can't, which is why a Federal court ruled against the FAA recently in the only case to go to a ruling that I'm aware of) - no, advisory circulars are not laws or regulations.

Sure, we could make it cheaper by cutting out certification requirements, but that goes back to my original statement: We'd have to accept lower safety levels.

Or we could just have the government bless a reference design and sell it for cost, with the manufacturer having no liability for failure (responsibility for quality would rest with the FAA), and other manufacturers would be able to freely manufacture the same design at any price they wish, with no liability as long as they conform to the reference.

The problem with aviation is that the regulations GREATLY lag technology, and the certification requirements drive everybody to openly avoid modernization. Then everything gets grandfathered in, so procedures have to assume that there is a piper cub with no electrical system nearby all the time.

I don't mean to pick on collision avoidance and ADS-B in particular. Problems like this exist all over the aviation industry, especially in general aviation. Cars have had FADEC and automatic transmissions for decades now, the typical training aircraft that costs $100/hr to operate lacks both (indeed even fairly expensive new piston aircraft still tend to lack them).

Sometimes I think the solution to the aviation problem isn't to think about how to allow drones to safely operate in a world of piloted aircraft, but rather to to think about how to allow passenger-carrying aircraft to safely operate in a world of drones.

"If value corrupts then absolute value corrupts absolutely."