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Comment Re:the main legit use i can see (Score 1) 218

I presume that this would be integrated with some kind of app on the receiver end. When the truck is dispatched (or, if the depot is in range, when the parcel is ready for direct dispatch), you'd get a message telling you the time window when it will be available. You then signal that you're ready to receive it and give some GPS coordinates. It's then dispatched and sends another message when it's a few hundred metres away. You then go outside (or stand on a balcony) and wait for it to be delivered directly to you. Once it's very close, it can use WiFi from your phone (send your MAC address to the drone and the SSID that you're associated with - or create an ad-hoc network if you're out of range and it can home in on you) to check that it's actually landing by the correct person. Then just tap the 'delivery received' button and it will fly away.

Comment Re:How does space elevator save energy? (Score 2) 103

No space elevator designs that are even vaguely plausible include a moving cable. To understand why, consider the mass of such a cable: the energy required to accelerate it and then decelerate it for the cars to start and stop would be phenomenal. You could potentially have a loop that would continuously move in a circle, but you'd still have problems starting it. Just dropping things from the top wouldn't be enough, because you'd need to get them a fair way down before they'd stop orbiting and actually provide force in the correct direction. I don't even want to think about the lateral forces that such a structure would have to endure.

Comment Re:problems (Score 1) 85

You know that Bill Gates isn't one guy doing all the work all by himself right?

Really? No, that's a total surprise to me.

The point is not who does the work. The point is who decides which path to take. And from what I've seen so far, Bill is anything but a hands-off manager. His education project is the way he thinks it should be done, and his malaria foundation does business with pharmacy companies that he holds stock in.

It might just be that he listens to his experts and then goes on stage selling their proposals as his ideas, but given his history with Microsoft and Windows and DOS, I doubt it.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 0, Troll) 218

I haven't found that to be true. In many other countries, often referred to as more "civilized" ones, people argue that the government should have a monopoly on the use of force.

And you know what? That's OK. We Americans will come over and bail you out of your next holocaust, attempted genocide, continent-wide war, or other large-scale human rights atrocity, the same way we've bailed you out of your previous ones. If history is any guide, you'll end up better off than you were before you started all the shit, and at our expense.

Comment problems (Score 1) 85

Let's hope it goes better than BillG school reform!

It won't. Bill suffers from the same ego problem that many successful people suffer from - thinking that because you were good at one thing means you are qualified to solving every other problem. But very few people are great in vastly different domains. Even most geniuses stick to at least one area.

Giving money to people who are real experts in a domain and giving them room to find solutions is a hundred times better than coming in as a celebrity and taking over with your own random idea. This can, in fact, have a negative effect on the actual progress in the field.

Comment CIA, is that you? (Score 1) 74

Civilian pilots is what they call the CIA and other members of the intelligence community. Lots of the spy planes of past eras were piloted by "civilians". Sounds to me like an awkward phrasing of "the CIA negotiated some air time in our drones" with the phrasing designed to distract from what's actually happening and instead creating a debate about a completely different topic.

Then again, the intelligence agencies already have plenty of drones and that's no secret, so it's entirely possible I'm wearing too much tin foil.

Comment USB is a support nightmare (Score 4, Interesting) 269

Unlike ethernet, which is pretty much standard from platform to platform and basically trivial to support, USB code is completely different between linux, OS X, and Windows, and is a mess, API-wise.

I write software defined radio stuff, and after one incredible nightmare getting a USB SDR to work on all three platforms using conditional compilation (I did succeed), I swore off. No more. If it doesn't have an ethernet interface, or a USB-to-ethernet server app compatible with the standard SDR protocols that makes it appear to me as an ethernet SDR, it's not happening.

Luckily, some of the best SDR manufacturers out there have done it right. Andrus, AFDRI, and RFSPACE. And there are some servers that have been built to hide the abortion of USB, but so far they are very much platform-specific, for the very reason I described above.

USB. Ugh.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 19

What really bothers me is it should only take a few lines of code to replace garbage characters that slashdot shows with an ascii code for that character.

The worst is that it looks fine in preview, but the garbage comes out on the post. It's like they're deliberately trying to run off users.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 19

It wouldn't matter to me if they were Hindu, Jewish, or atheist. What bugs me is when someone doesn't practice what they preach. But religion should play no part in politics, except that hypocrisy is a no-go for me.

Take gay marriage, for example. Government should have no part whatever in marriage. I should not need a license to get married, and why is it all right to discriminate against single people? Why should a married couple earning $50k pay less than a war widow with a child earning the same amount?

If government had no hand in marriage, the "gay marriage" issue would have never come up.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 19

Just because Trump attends a Presbyterian church doesn't make him Christian, it makes him a wolf in sheep's clothing. Trump worships only two things: Himself, and the ancient Greek god Plutus.

I hate it when someone who seems to always go against Jesus' teachings claims to be a Christian.

That goes for all the Republicans, with the possible exception of Carson and perhaps Rubio. Actually I have my doubts about almost all politicians. You know what Christ said about lawyers and the rich, which almost all of the Senators, Congresspeople, Governors, and President.

The optimal answer is for politics to avoid setting itself in conflict with faith, and there are reasonable compromises to achieve this.

Agreed. Remember the three in the furnace who were to be burned alive for refusing to follow the law and bow to the idol. I'm not Hindu, but I would be aghast if they passed a law making it mandatory to eat beef every Saturday.

As to the unicode, that's slashdot's fuckup.

Comment Re:Hillary has... been opposed to single payer (Score 1) 29

You are pants are on fire?

IMO any of the three Democrats would be a better President than any of the Republicans, although there are two or three Republicans that might not fuck up America too badly.

Perhaps the conspiracy was cooked up by her supporters? The insurance companies are the major reason health care is so expensive and ineffective here.

I'm disgusted by the Republican candidates' cowardice and heartlessness when it comes to refugees, and the fact that none have served in the military but are all for going to war. Back in the Vietnam war days those sorts were called "chicken hawks", and you'll find few veterans who can stomach them.

Unless you're rich and white you'd be a fool to vote for any of them.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.