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Comment How about LIS as in the original pilot? (Score 1) 166

The pilot for LIS, which lacked both the robot and Dr Smith, was very promising. Guy Williams stood out very well in the pilot and was grossly underutilized in the series. I would go so far as to say the pilot for LIS was better than the original pilot for Star Trek (the one with Christopher Pike).

I could go either with respect to Dr Smith in a new series - the pilot had a hokey run-in with "asteroids" causing the Jupiter II to go off course, which was part of the plot for an episode in the third season - the one where Dr Smith does time travel and DOESN'T board the Jupiter II, which leads to the J2 being destroed when hitting uncharted asteroids.

Comment Re:Despite the summary, this is somewhat new... (Score 1) 80

The Leidenfrost effect is a form of film boiling. The bad news is that film boiling will take place on vertical surfaces about as easily as it will on horizontal surfaces. The one sure way to stop film boiling is to keep the heat transfer rate well below the departure from nucleate boiling limit (nuclear reactors are design to have the peak heat transfer rate at least 3X below the departure from nucleate boiling limit) and never let the circuitry become dry when powered.

Comment Re:Humans remain better sometimes (Score 2) 242

Such as when the center engine of a DC-10 goes "bang", cutting off the hydraulics and the only control is from adjusting the throttles of the remaining two good engines?

And for atrophied skills, consider Air France 330 (IIRC) from 2009, which was flown in a controlled stall into the Atlantic Ocean because the co-pilot forgot that recovery from a stall requires the nose to be pushed down. Original cause was autopilot decoupling when the pitot tube got iced up.

Main problem with computer control is trusting that the people writing the software properly anticipated all of the situations that could be encountered. The quality of most code leaves me with a bad feeling about this. An example, an Airbus on a demonstration flight crashed because the software countermanded the pilot's attempt to pull out of a dive, the software was trying to prevent excessive g-loads but the programmer didn't consider that hitting the ground would be worse than bending the airframe.

Comment Re:Vitality is defined by users, not developers. (Score 1) 149

FWW, Motif was an HP development where a fair amount of effort was put into making a more or less intuitive Window manager that was a bit better looking than what M$-Windows looked like at the time (ca 1990). Visual User Environment was built on top of Motif, and that morphed into CDE in the mid 1990's.

There have been a few open source apps built on motif, Nedit and Xephem come to mind. Tcl/Tk was first built on Motif.

Comment Re:Why all the desktop stuff? (Score 1) 149

Solaris had been running on x86 since about 1990. One motivation for running on two different processors is that the porting process uncovered a fair number of bugs, I would go so far as to say the reputation of the open source UNIX software from the late 1980's and early 1990's was due to the process of porting to the various flavors of UNIX.

Sun was in the process of migrating away from CDE when Oracle bought them, so implementing a desktop was more a matter of porting GNOME and KDE to run on Solaris. The Firefox ports to Solaris were done by a Sun's software group in China and Sun was paying Adobe to support Acroread and Flash on Solaris.

Comment Re:No additional hardware was likely needed (Score 1) 153

I disagree, as the author didn't seem to understand the reason why gasolene and diesel engines run on different fuels. Gasoline is composed of lighter hydrocarbons to give a higher resistance to compression ignition to reduce knocking, diesel is composed of longer hydrocarbons to enhance ignition by the hot air generated by compression.

Comment Re:Related to gamma ray bursts? (Score 1) 30

I suspect the sprites might be related to the gamma rays. Don't see electrons having a long enough free path in the lower atmosphere to build up enough energy to cause pair production.

I am very convinced that the sprites are related to sporadic E skip, where ionization of the E layer of the ionosphere becomes intense to reflect VHF signals.

Comment Re:I don't get the point of this thing... (Score 1) 217

A few reasons why the electric catapult is better than steam. It's a royal PITA keeping the steam seal in good shape on the catapult. The steam reservoirs take up a fair amount of space. The steam piping is a PITA. Gas turbines for non-nuclear ships don't necessarily produce steam.

Comment Z-800? (Score 3, Informative) 124

ISTR Z-800 as being the designation for the Z-80 extended to 16 bits. My recollection was that it didn't start shipping until sometime past 1980. If Zilog got the Z-800 out late 1978, and sweet talked DRI to porting CP/M to it, and with that port capable of running Z-80 executables...

Reality was that Intel had announced the 8086 in 1978, had silicon shipping early 1979 and Tim Paterson got an 8086 board up and running in May 1979.

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.