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Comment: Re:60 minutes is not longer of value (Score 1) 544

by bughunter (#46651447) Attached to: 60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S


I switched to recording America's Funniest Videos on Sundays after the sloppy wet one they gave Amazon last year. They were on probation after the propaganda microphone they gave to the NSA last year, and the string of soggy panty pieces Lara Logan has been giving for their coverage of the US military abroad.

There's more truth in 60 seconds of AFV than there is in an entire episode of 60 Minutes.

Comment: Re:There should always be contingency plans.. (Score 2) 307

by bughunter (#46650435) Attached to: Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

I voted (3), but really, the answer depends on the purpose of the mission, and the overall purpose of the space program.

If the point is to colonize other worlds, open new frontiers, escape the confines of this single planet in order to ensure the survival of humans and other terrestrial species, then there's no point. If you can't establish a viable colony, then you're not ready yet. Send robots until you are. Build and expand in stages.

If the purpose is commercial, then the answer is similar but for a different reason: it has no ROI. If you can't return, then the investment required just to get humans to Mars alive is too great. Again, send a robot.

If the purpose is PR (which is one of NASA's priorities) then the answer is maybe -- as in yes, but only if the PR is positive and promotes the kind of optics the agency wants. This kind of mission is more of a stunt, a spectacle, than promoting science and exploration. Right now, NASA's PR mission is more of the latter than the former, but who knows -- perhaps NASA needs more of a spectacle. Look at how much attention the Mars rovers get, and it's because they're more than a little bit spectacular.

If the purpose is pure science and exploration, then yes. If there are volunteers, why not? Plenty of explorers throughout history have taken huge risks and paid for their lives to expand human knowledge, and we've benefited. If they're willing, then who are we to judge?

Comment: How about telling the Light what to do instead? (Score 1) 364

by bughunter (#46641215) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

In my city, every signal-controlled intersection has sensors, even though most intersections between heavily trafficked streets appear to work on timers. The side streets with signals, however, use the sensor to interrupt cross traffic - usually after some combination of delay and count of waiting cars.

Unfortunately this combination appears more often than not to waste fuel and create more pollution. This is because the algorithm doesn't coordinate between intersections, or use cross-street sensors to detect a break in the cross traffic that will allow the one or two side street cars cross. Instead, Murphy's law reigns, and one or two cars needing to cross the main boulevard will be forced to wait at a red light while gaps in the cross traffic go by, and then several dozen cars will be forced to stop while the one or two cars use the intersection, and then several dozen cars must accelerate from a stop again.

My city is home to JPL and Cal Tech. We can send robots to Mars and spacecraft into interstellar space. But we can't coordinate sensors across the city to prevent me (and 30 others) from having to stop at a red light so that one car can pass, and then watch the intersection go unused for another 90 seconds... again and again and again as I cross town. Even more frequently, I see people sit at lights on side streets waiting thru gaps in traffic clearly long enough for crossing.

We have the necessary high bandwidth wireless communication, mesh networking technology, and computing power to change this. But it isn't happening.

I know that the only reason it's not already done is because it's not important to the people who manage this sort of thing, not important enough to spend the necessary money on R&D and implementation, anyway. But air quality and pollution are very important in Southern California. Isn't it important enough for something as solveable as this?

Surely someone in Pasadena or Cambridge or Santa Clara or Pasadena or Austin or Raleigh or Atlanta -- name your tech hub -- has an interest.

Comment: Re:Don't worry, no functional parts included (Score 1) 127

by bughunter (#46585111) Attached to: NASA Puts Its New Spacesuit Design To a Public Vote

The "cover" or "skin" of the suit is also functional. As a systems engineer (for space-based sensors and cameras) I can think of a few requirements that need to be addressed right off the bat:

- Visible Contrast, so that the wearer can be detected/identified by humans, from a distance
- EM Reflectivity, so that the wearer can be detected/identified by active scan sensors (lidar/radar/whatever)
- Customization options, so that wearers can be distinguished from one another
- Glare reduction, so that the wearer's visibility isn't compromised under direct sunlight
- Thermal conductivity and albedo requirements, matched to the performance of the suit's internal thermal regulation
- Micrometeorite protection (probably addressed by deeper layers, but also a factor here)

And that's just from 2 minutes of brainstorming...

Of course, since this suit will never actually be used in space, the systems engineering process above can be abandoned in favor of public relations, which NASA spends a small but significant chunk of its budget on...

Comment: One burners only please... (Score 1) 285

by bughunter (#46575305) Attached to: I prefer my peppers ...

I like my peppers lip numbing, nose running hot, but there are two kinds of chili peppers... one burner and two burners.

One burners burn your mouth. Two burners burn your mouth and your bum. (In the immortal words of Cheech Marin, "C'mon, ICE CREAM!")

Plus, as I get older, I find that if the seeds aren't removed from the chilis before they're used in a recipe, I suffer severe intestinal distress before it even has a chance to reach the exit. Therefore I make my own salsa and pico de gallo, or stick to known "safe" labels. (Huy Fong Sriracha, fortunately, is OK.)

Now get off my lawn, and leave the sriracha.

Comment: Re:Just validating registration tags ... (Score 1) 405

by bughunter (#46566655) Attached to: L.A. Police: <em>All</em> Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation

The LAPD would only need to state that the images were captured with the intent of validating registration tags.

But they're demonstrably not doing this.

They're buying ALPR systems that are specifically advertised with the capabilities to create and analyze databases of license plate numbers, places, times, etc. in order to track peoples' movements.

What hath Bob wrought?