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Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 1) 247

by Zmobie (#49570321) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

And to elaborate on the issue I described above, we did have to come up with a work-around and/or support staff in the interim while the issue was being fixed. Was an agonizing time dealing with all that especially with the number of people I had to talk to just to get the information I needed to troubleshoot the problem and the damn thing at first seemingly happened at random with very little debugging logs to show it.

Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 2) 247

by Zmobie (#49570261) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

While true, there is also the problem that many of the families and people that bought that car had no idea there was a risk like this. At what point is there a cutoff? Many people will take risks like that to save money, but not all (maybe not even a majority). Is it really fair for them to make that decision for these people? I mean they even knew that almost every time it happened people would get killed. There is a huge difference in "this could cause a problem with operation of the vehicle" and "this will probably get someone killed". That to me is not taking reasonable precautions and is very unethical.

Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 1) 247

by Zmobie (#49570191) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

In the particular case we talked about how poorly Ford handled the issue after it was reported and specifically how instances of catastrophic failure need to be dealt with differently. The biggest take-away was the fact that when people started making the claim that the gas tank being punctured was causing the fatal fires, Ford tried to flat deny and cover up the problem. I would bet personally the engineers were not doing that, although we specifically talked about ethically they should have come forward.

I do acknowledge your point of basically hindsight is 20/20, but I would argue that even though this problem was a "rare" occurrence it should have been fixed due to the possible result. I have had things like this come up just doing software (not so much to the fatal degree, though when working on HMIs that actually can become fatal software issues...) where we found a severe issue that was rare but would cause a complete failure.

In the admittedly limited instances when this occurred regardless of the cost we had to fix it. I had one such bug make it into production not long ago (it was even legacy code) and I spent literally 4 months working on it to find out it was a problem in the lower API we were requested to use to fit in with the customers system infrastructure. There was no hesitation to fix it either, we found it, knew it would be tough (was a thread locking issue) and had to dive right in.

To me it is very strange with automobiles how they seem to be held to a different standard as far as severe safety issues like that. If a civil engineer makes a mistake like that the engineer and their company will get sued back to the stone ages, but automotive gets a pass a lot of the time... The Pinto case is one of the examples where they actually had to pay for their serious mistake and terrible handling of it upon discovery.

Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 2) 247

by Zmobie (#49565471) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

Agreed. We look at the Pinto specifically as a case study in my engineering ethics class back in college, there was not excuse for what they did. All engineers do have to make trade-off decisions, but the fucking deluxe fix was $11, that is it.They could have built that into the car price with virtually no impact. TFA picked one terrible example...

Comment: Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 333

by Zmobie (#48928001) Attached to: The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

Actually, in the links they describe there are a ton of different calculations on the energy requirements. Some take insane amounts (like you pointed out), others show negative energy (anti-matter) but there are a few designs that show feasible energy requirements (about 700kg is what one said). The biggest problem comes to how you fuel the thing, because they have no clue.

This is all theory and nothing but speculation anyway though (the energy could be insanely high requirements) and they definitely haven't overcome the whole shockwave problem...

Comment: Re:It'll never happen (Score 4, Interesting) 333

by Zmobie (#48926219) Attached to: The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

We certainly *CAN* predict (with very near certainty) that faster-than-light travel is impossible - and that is the overwhelmingly most likely reason that aliens will never visit us in person.

Actually that is not entirely accurate. See Alcubierre drive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...
https://www.princeton.edu/~ach...
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/gl...

There has been a lot of debate and research on this very subject, even a proof of concept in the works:

http://www.extremetech.com/ext...

Current data suggests FTL travel to be impossible, but that is also in a relative sense. Even if an alcubierre drive turns out to possible we have a lot more work to do before it is feasible.

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 1) 349

by Zmobie (#48708109) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Yea that is one of the only exceptions, you are correct. Like I put in another post, they store those separately and just bulk give them back, rather than having to sort them like an actual gate-check bag. International they can't simply because of custom regulations. Takes a lot just to get cleared to touch anything involving an international flight even if you are in the originating country...

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