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Comment Re:1%? (Score 1) 233

This project will probably either fail on its own, or the price will eventually come down from 250K and if I had the luxury of being a bottom-of-the- 1% er, I would wait about 10 years and see how this pans out. Let the Bieber take the first ride. Also for 250K, you could get a pretty nice private airplane and fly your heart out.

Comment Re:And you call the Americans anti-science (Score 2, Informative) 330

If they become unwilling or unable to sell corn seed, buy it from another company.

What's the issue?

Monsanto's business model: You buy seed from company X or make your own seed. Monsanto sends private detectives out to take samples from your crop. If they find signs of patented DNA sequences which will happen because of cross polinization, Monsanto threatens to sue you into oblivion unless you switch to Monsanto. (Legally you're guilty of "DNA piracy" unless you can prove your innocance...It's your word against Monsanto's.) Once you switch to Monsanto, you sign a contract that prohibits you from reseeding your own corn. So you have to purchase new seed from Monsanto each year. Competing seed suppliers go bankrupt because all their customers were forced to switch to Monsanto. Repeat above over and over again in market after market until Monsanto runs out of markets to monopolize and farmers no longer are able to reseed. Profits!!!

Comment Re:It's not just IT (Score 1) 152

15 minutes guarantee? I rarely spent more than 5 minutes in a pharmacy ...

I think for a healthy, younger person filling a single prescription for a single medication doesn't take more than a couple of minutes. But when you have older people on multiple medications from multiple doctors, the Pharmacist is the last line of defence in preventing injury or death from incompatible drugs being taken together. In that case, I would want my pharmacist to take an extra few minutes to do a sanity check.

Comment it's the weather, stupid (Score 1) 43

I'm no aeronautical engineer, but when anyone mentions balloons, blimps, dirigibles, Zeppelins, etc. I think they just might be a little bit susceptible to the weather as they rely on gas bags and lighter-than-air construction to stay aloft. I'm sure Zeppelins can be a lot of fun to fly around in on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon while drinking champagne, eating oysters off the half shell and smoking a cigar, but they are hardly useful for military applications or anything requiring 24/7, 365 days per year coverage. This also goes for Nicolai Tesla's idea of transmitting electricity via balloon, or more recently google's internet balloons or Putin's monster troop Zeppelins. These ideas seem to come up from time to time, so that I'm beginning to wonder if there's an out-of-work Zeppelin Engineer who goes from town to town pitching his ideas. Kaiser Wilhelm II once said of Count Zeppelin, "of all the south Germans, he is by a wide margin the dumbest."

Comment Re:VW opened up pandora box (Score 1) 126

...In the EU the limits are stricter, the testing more rigorous ....

I'm not so sure about that. The standards might be more rigorous on paper, but the EU testing methodology seems to have more industry-sponsored loopholes that are designed to make cars look much more efficient than they actually are.

Comment Re:Mainstream form of manufacturing? (Score 4, Insightful) 101

3d printing will _never_ be a mainstream form of manufacturing.

First of all, mainstream manufacturing uses multiple manufacturing methods, such as milling, casting, forging, deep drawing, injection moulding, stamping, bending, etc. You use the best method for the application and desired quality and quantity. At best 3D printing could supplement traditional manufacturing methods, such as for making custom parts in very low quantities. But the idea that 3D printing could be a viable alternative for several or most traditional methods is ludicrous and a sign that a lot of 3D fans don't really understand manufacturing and have spent too much time in design studios and too little on the factory floor.

Comment Re:other way around - geofence the drones in (Score 1) 165

Thanks for the clarification. I agree that licensing and a standardised civilian UAV Operator training syllabus would probably be the safest alternatives and are probably inevitable. I am concerned however that it may take a midair with an airliner and the inevitable public outrage that the FAA should "do something" before it happens. The FAA could consider UAVs to be "recreational" along the same lines as ultralights, skydivers, paragliders, etc. and not require licensing. But the difference is recreational aviation is generally prohibited over populated areas, sporting events, natural disasters, at night, etc. Civilian UAVs OTOH often tend to be attracted to the airspace over those kinds of areas, so probably need some form of formal training and licensing.

Comment other way around - geofence the drones in (Score 2) 165

Disclaimer, I'm a pilot. Visual flight rules VFR - under which drones presumably operate means by definition that the pilot needs to see and avoid other aircraft. Unless the drone operator is within visual sight of his drone, there is no way for him to fulfil his responsibilities for the safe operation of that aircraft. The typical civilain drone is much smaller than an airplane, so a pilot in an opposing aircraft probably won't see the drone until it is very, very close. He might not have time to take appropriate action, additionally, since the drone operator has no way of seeing the aircraft, he will probably not react like the pilot expects, i.e. giving way to the right.

I hate to say this, but we probably need to do it the other way around, and geofence the drones in designated areas for aircraft to avoid, much like model aircraft, high-power model rockets, etc. It's the way the military operates drones. They are only permitted to operate within Restricted or Warning areas or along designated corridors that are marked on VFR charts and listed in the NOTAMS.

Comment Re:The difference is ... (Score 1) 247

....American (Google) makers are trying to build technology to keep people on the road who otherwise should be taking the shuttle van to the senior centre....

These are the kinds of people who still have 12:00 flashing on their VCR. That's how dumb and foolproof the technology needs to be. Otherwise it's just an expensive gismo.

Comment Re:Autonomous "Driving" needs to be truly driverle (Score 1) 247

.... The problem with this is that when an airline pilot is forced to take control, they probably have MINUTES before any real issue will arise. They are asking car drivers to take over when there are possible issues within SECONDS (possibly less).

Not necessarily, especially if it involves fire, structural damage, rapid decompression or engine failure. Maybe the chain of events unfold over minutes or hours, but there are times where a correct decision needs to be made quickly, i.e. turn back, land straight ahead, divert, eject, etc.

Comment marketing speak: "customer experience" (Score 1) 527

"...add customer experience and diagnostic telemetry..."

They didn't say that the 'customer experience' would be a good one. Sounds almost like airlines touting their coin-operated lavatories as somehow adding to the 'customer experience', as nobody forgets the experience of not having a couple of spare quarters at 40,000 feet and three hours to go until to landing.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal