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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...

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 1) 349

by Zmobie (#48706029) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Yea, the bags will not be given back but strollers and equipment that is needed to get around will be. The strollers and such are generally put in an easy to get area in the hold and all of that stuff is just given back all at once. Where as the gate check bags may be loaded with the normal check bags and there is no way in hell the ground crews are going to mess with sifting through 100 to 400 bags to figure out who wants a gate check bag back, that is why they invest all that money into baggage handling and baggage reconciliation systems.

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 0, Flamebait) 349

by Zmobie (#48701555) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Thanks for telling me something I already know? I don't work as an airline employee, I work for a major airline/airport vendor that happens to specialize in baggage handling and sortation as our major business. If you really want to insult me and act like I don't know what I am talking about, you should actually know what you're talking about first.

Yes, there are a few airlines and some circumstance with the puddle jumper aircraft and a few narrow body aircraft where they give the bags back, but that is usually only something that happens at very small tier 2 airports or tier 3 airports that do not have the facilities to handle the industry standard practice of checking to final destination (which is by far and large what most airlines do, we have done work for a ton of the big ones, including the currently three largest). This also far and away does NOT apply to only wide body jets, as several airports I have done work at can barely even support wide body jets on the majority of their gates (LAX specifically comes to mind as it can only really support them on the ends of terminals since the space between terminals is pretty small and at TBIT because it was built with that in mind). That would be just simply idiotic to only apply that practice to certain equipment types as your ground crews would have an even BIGGER pain sorting a narrow body by hand to give bags back because they can't load ULDs on those and everything is put in bulk hold.

Regional jets are not the money makers and usually have weirdo exceptions especially since a lot of terminals/stations they fly them out of barely have a baggage handling system to begin with.

Comment: Re:Cheaper (Score 1) 349

by Zmobie (#48696757) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Actually, airlines and airports have some of the most complicated business models you will ever see. And due to the fact that they are heavily government regulated, they do have to get fairly creative to make money sometimes. They definitely don't have near as small a profit margin as they want everyone to believe, but it is not some massive hand over fist money making business. It requires a lot of investment and upkeep capital to run them. Some of them bounce back and forth between making and losing money, but they are not completely crippled hardly ever.

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 2, Informative) 349

by Zmobie (#48696657) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Not exactly. This is something the airlines attempt to stop, as it is a way to circumvent bag fees (they don't generally charge you for a gate check), but especially since many places are moving towards self-service check in or you can check in online and never see an agent this is rare. TSA should be the ones stopping it, but this is not their primary concern (or even secondary, tertiary... etc.). It doesn't incur any cost to the security side and because of the historically bad communications and cooperation between the TSA and airline tenants there is very little quid pro quo going on. I have spoken to a lot of operations managers about this problem before, and watched many people taking obviously large suitcases through security with both TSA and the passenger being very aware that is not of the carry on size.

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 4, Informative) 349

by Zmobie (#48696623) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

I work in the industry, and actually in most instances there is no difference in gate check bags. They simply send them down to the ground crew and it is loaded like any checked bag. It would be exceptionally costly to try and separate and sort bags that need to be "returned at the gate" so they don't bother and send them up the claim units at your final destination. The tags are just hand written (sometimes they slap a ten digit tag on them, but most of their host systems don't even support automatic sorting and tracking for gate checked bags) and read when the plane is unloaded.

Normally, if you gate check a bag they also don't charge you the baggage fee as the most common cause of gate check bags is the overhead bins filling up. This causes the airline to be better off with the customer service aspect and since they generally tell you carry-on bags don't cost they don't want to spring hidden fees on you (unless you fly a budget airline like spirit or frontier, spirit charges you even if you carry the bag onto the plane with you and the charges are HIGHER if it has to be checked at the gate...).

Comment: Re:UPS (Score 1) 236

by Zmobie (#48438337) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

Actually, my company has been seeing a particular airport having a lot of power outages that has seen at one field workstation be lost per outage (not hardware dead, but the PC has to be re-imaged). Considering how long the UPSs I have will last (and I got the UPS for my PC for like $80 and my network equipment for like $90), its worth it considering the thousands of dollars they are protecting and the headaches they are saving. Data loss is my bigger concern, especially since I am in an area prone to brown outs. Before I got mine, I lost things several times because of a random ass power outage.

Comment: Re:Active imagination (Score 0) 583

by Zmobie (#48244431) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Oh you poor mis-informed man. We absolutely do not have the processing power equivalent to a human brain. We can outperform it on one TYPE of task, but not even close to the general case (and even then it requires supercomputers and distributed computing clusters). The main problem exists with learning, highly abstract reasoning (i.e. logical leaps), and oddly enough some of our more "mundane" things such as speech. Unsupervised learning is so incredibly hard in AI because there really isn't any way to signal what is correct and what is not correct within the current context of an AI. For one to actually surpass us we would have to impart all of our specific knowledge and exact modelling to the AI first, and even then it would be very difficult to map out. Watson from IBM is probably the most advanced as far as imparting all of our knowledge, and it really still can't handle anything on that level. Almost all programming is done in one of two ways, either we tell the computer how to obtain the correct answer, or we define parameters of what a correct answer looks like. When the machine has no guidelines and has to decide what is right, wrong, or even useful things get really confusing and complicated for it.

In the wikipedia article for watson they even point out that it had trouble with questions that did not have many terms, which shows they were not able to take into account a lot of context of the question or naturally how a human would say that to one another. The machine was specifically designed to be a giant query bot and it still had problems because if it didn't have enough keywords or a long enough sentence to do decent natural language processing, so it bombed out. That kind of goes directly into the abstract reasoning. Machines work in a very step by step logic model, they don't do well with jumping steps at all and when a problem becomes insanely large, again wikipedia for quick reference combinatorial explosion, the AI pretty much loses it shit. These are also system that have been designed for ONE particular task, and while in a lot of cases they alone can outperform a human, that is the only thing they can outperform in while the human can do thousands of others tasks.

Finally, my last point about speech is less AI related just more showing how much computational power the human brain actually has. Robotics, specifically has had serious issues with a lot of the human aspects of speech and conversation (I couldn't find any good links, I read several articles and had discussions on this back in college, but those are kind of walled behind university stuff...) such that it takes a massive amount of the robots processing power to perform these functions. Even layering on things to try and brute force the problem "creating" natural speech (sort of turing test actually) and then having the bot spit it out caused some ridiculous problems.

Our models and algorithms for creating these kinds of "dangerous AI" are so hilariously far behind from what the tin foil hat community believes we will probably be dancing on a terraformed planet several galaxies away before we actually get that figured out. Unless someone stupidly stumbles across the correct "voodoo" spell of an algorithm for truly efficient and complete machine learning, it is hard to model it when WE don't even fully understand how the human brains works (see neuroscience and psychology).

Full disclosure, I am a computer scientist/software engineer that has actually had some education on the subject of AI. It was a small focus of mine in college out curiosity, but then I saw I would be better served in other focuses so I just kept up with it on the side.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (Score 0) 789

Playing devil's advocate here, but technically by asserting that you should go by the subjective nature of the tagline here you are insinuating that nerds do not need to know about politics, current events, pop culture in general (unless it is "nerdy"), or any such like in their lives what-so-ever. I don't know about you but I feel that I can identify myself as a nerd and feel that I do need to know about an impending war that Russia has decided to potentially spark and most of the other subjects I mentioned (arguably most of pop culture should be excluded, but current events and large political dealings do still matter for nerds). This is still news for nerds, as it is really news for everyone, there is just more stories that only nerds would consider important mixed into the feeds of the site.

Again, I am really just playing devil's advocate here, but I feel it is petty semantics when people argue about this crap. They are not posting about what George Clooney wore to "insert awards show or event here" which is the type of thing I would think qualifies as unimportant to nerds. I really don't care personally, the posts are pretty much fine with me, but just pointing out that there are some issues with the argument you try to make.

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