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Comment: Re:When they test these autonomous cars... (Score 1) 167

by TBoon (#48749917) Attached to: Mercedes-Benz's Self-Driving Concept Car Is Here

And if that is the response, that is why autonomous cars will NEVER work on public roads.

Either the car drives itself 100% of the time, or I drive it 100% of the time.

I would love a car capable on cruising along pre-approved rural interstates, but handing over control to me for city driving. Set your destination to a city 7 hours away, and watch a movie, read a book, or maybe even take a nap, while the car keep a more vigilante "eye" on driving than a human possibly can for any extended period of time.

Of course it should be 100% capable of driving itself when in charge, and not suddenly hand over to a human. When it needs refueling, or if the weather deteriorates it needs to notify the human well in advance, and be capable of safely pulling over and stopping if the driver fails to take over in time.

Comment: Re:5% less leg room? (Score 1) 65

by TBoon (#48682413) Attached to: First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January

Plane: 90+60+30+70 min flight time = 4h 10 min hour. Train: 20+10+5.20 train time = 5h 50 min. You have a 3 hour 20 minute difference in travel time for a return trip.

On the other hand, pretty much all of those 4h10m are spend being unproductive if flying. Barely any time to do any work in between moving to the next stage, standing in line, and waiting for a few minutes here and there. However in the train scenario only half an hour really prevents work from being done, leaving a solid 5 hour work block to be utilized.

Flying might get you there faster, but you'll get more done on the train. Depends on your priorities and needs.

Comment: Re:Why the 1st model starts at -800? (Score 1) 65

by TBoon (#48679411) Attached to: First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January

The big-planes, infrequently model doesn't really work with the hub-and-spokes model popular in the USA

Also, apparently American airlines typically use revenue management software optimized for smaller aircrafts, compared to that used by European carriers.

Comment: Re:Ouch (Score 2) 161

by TBoon (#48679379) Attached to: Boston Elementary, Middle Schools To Get a Longer Day

I find myself empathizing with the kids on this one, who I'm sure arn't seeing this as an investment in their future but rather yet more time spent in the dungeon.

The question is what they'll do with that extra time. And how it affects homework. IIRC in Finland (or maybe Sweden?) Primary/Middle school takes up a fairly large chunk of the afternoon, but there is virtually no homework until the kids reach High school.

Of course doing something like that would require a rather drastic reform, so the Boston kids in question are probably just stuck in the dungeon longer, and get home loaded with even more homework...

Comment: Re:Uber, uber, uber, uber (Score 1) 257

by TBoon (#48494545) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

In contrast imagine being able to run trucks nonstop using robot drivers that don't need sleep, [...] Maybe every Xth truck on the route has a human (who doesn't drive) just in case a truck encounters a problem that needs a human around.

Sounds like you're trying to reinvent trains.

Which of course would be a step back in the right direction as far as long haul cargo does.

Comment: Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (Score 1) 49

by TBoon (#47786827) Attached to: How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech
They could probably make some kind of door/lid that only opens once the car is in place. (This might add a few seconds to the pit stop, so maybe some other solution could be found?) If the dug-out isn't a mere dug-out but more like a basement underneath the entire pit area there would be other escape routes for people below in case of a fire.

Comment: Re:lost the human touch? (Score 1) 102

by TBoon (#47495273) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

Why can't the terminal simply spit out my baggage sticker for myself to put on?

It may be about putting the sticker on correctly. [...] allows for a human check to ensure things like: the bag is within dimensional limits, the bag isn't already damaged, [...]

Most (if not all) airports in Norway have had the machines print out luggage tags for you to put on yourself for years now. Some have self-service bag-drops where you scan the luggage tag (and iirc fingerprint) and be on your way. I'm sure the machine would refuse overweight luggage, and there is usually a person nearby keeping an eye on everything.

Of course, if traveling to the US (and probably a number of other destinations as well), you're required to interact with a manned counter at some point.

Comment: Aircraft Fuselage (Score 1) 274

by TBoon (#32817986) Attached to: How To Build an Open Source House?
If you don't mind living close to an airport (or at least a suiteable airstrip), an old aircraft might be a cool idea. At Stockholm Airport in sweden a 747 has been converted to a hotel. And I've read about a pilot wanting to do the same for a home. A 747 might be a bit large, and limit your location more than something a bit smaller of course. But the pilot reconned it wouldn't actually cost all that much. Once the plane is in place a lots of the equipent, like engines and hydraulics can be sold off. He estimated paying around $50.000 for the stripped down fuselage. And given that they spend a lot of time in -50C air, aircrafts are pretty well insulated. (But as pointed out elsewhere, local building codes and be problematic.)

Comment: Re:reusing building materials (Score 1) 274

by TBoon (#32817856) Attached to: How To Build an Open Source House?

Train tubes or aircraft fuselages were not intended to live in. They will be energy pigs: little insulation,

Read recently about an airline pilot wanting to convert a 747 into a house. Remember that aircrafts fly in -50C, so there is plenty of insulation in those thin walls. (There is also a 747 converted to a hotel in Sweden. Construction-wise a hotel shouldn't be too different from a home.) Getting a reasonably sized fuselage to anywere but next to sufficiently large airstrip will of course be a problem.

Comment: Re:Naw ... (Score 1) 337

by TBoon (#32581868) Attached to: Video Games Linked To Reckless Driving

Three comments on that video...

1. Margin of turn-radius for that hairpin turn. Or was that set up to be exceedingly narrow, or even impossible just to make sure the result wouldn't "work" ?

2. The angle of the camera seemed a bit low? Been a while since I played much racing games, but it seemed to me that there was a somewhat larger than usual blind zone in front of their truck.

3. As pointed out in the article, how about steering with a game-controller instead of a steering wheel? I know that when I got a wheel-controller for gaming, I actually had to change the POV to inside in games. Even in games the 3rd person view was annoying when using a steering wheel and pedals!

Comment: Re:That's Great But... (Score 1) 688

by TBoon (#32570936) Attached to: $1 Trillion In Minerals Found In Afghanistan

best I know are that copper mines are pretty nasty. I doubt that the chinese are, or can be, a lot worse than your favorite raw material western capitalist.

I don't know how nasty copper mines are in comparison to other mines, so I can't comment on that. But given the disregard of the safety of their own workers at home in China, I can't imagine them treating African works *better* than a western capitalist would. Of course, that would mostly be due to the western capitalists having significantly different safety standards depending on country of operation more than the Chines lack of such.

But I really like the claims of surplus electrical power and training the locals to run things.

Certainly there are benefits. Not saying there aren't any. After all it creates jobs as well.

As far as roses in africa, I believe you and I suspect it is stupid even from the get-go, but if I were to look closely I would ask how desperate the local government was for hard currency and why.

I don't think roses would necessarily be more stupid than any other crops for export just because you can't eat them. But using land that could be used to feed the locals obviously raises some questions, and dumping chemicals into the local environment clearly sends it over the top.

Another thing I was told in Ethiopia was that what had happened (simplified) was that after centuries of European rule, and decades of guilt based (and ineffective) aid from the West, locals saw the Chinese as an interesting alternative for building their nations. However, after about a decade of massive Chinese involvement, they realized that the Chinese were actually worse than the Europeans in taking the actual resources for themselves, while leaving minimal positive impact. (Also, by now better and more sustainable ways of improving standards of living has been figured out, though they of course are not without problems of their own...)

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun