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Comment Re:last chance to buy quality Sharp products (Score 2) 35

Geeks are just as good the world over, whether Japan, Taiwan, EU, US or China. Product quality has nothing to do with the quality of the designers and builders and everything to do with the budget and time constraints they have to do their stuff. And that is all about where their company wants to position itself in the price/quality/reputation landscape.

Sharp has a well-deserved reputation for good quality and sometimes off-beat or niche products that delight a few even if they don't become huge sellers. And that's of course part reason why they've been in trouble for some years now. Foxconn doesn't have a reputation for premium products or for doing their own thing.

I share the worry that Sharp as we know it will disappear, and just become another nameplate pasted on bland, forgettable me-too stuff.

Comment Re:The wall will be built (Score 1) 827

People keep fallaciously saying this... If it makes you feel better, by all means keep repeating it to yourself. You don't

1) Understand HOW a President gets elected (Seriously- if you mention "popular vote" in this context, you DO NOT KNOW.)
2) Understand that it's not what YOU wish, but what a lot of other people think that you clearly know nothing about.

While I didn't agree with the man's take on things, I thought Romney was going to take it because of anti-Dem fervor back then. Clearly I was wrong. Pontificating like you have here, you're likely to be that too. Just don't act shocked, pissed, etc. when it doesn't work out that way. I won't agree with you then and I won't have any sympathy either.

Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 178

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Re:Gazebo, ROS, OpenCV, Point Cloud Library (Score 1) 78

What dbc says in his answer. But there's also that you can to some degree choose to shift complexity to hardware or software.

You can for instance have a very expensive, high-quality, difficult to design and build harmonic-drive limb joint. The hardware is strong, accurate and reliable. There's no backlash or slack anywhere. Your software for moving the joint can in such a case be more or less "move_to_angle(something)" and you're done.

Or you can have a hobby servo moving a hinge consisting of two holes threaded with a wire hanger. You can build it in five minutes. But now your software has to take all the slop, and all the inaccuracies into account. The behaviour of the joint will change depending on bending angle, direction to the floor, what it's holding and probably a lot more. You'll need extra sensors and probably some kind of adaptive system that learns to control the rickety thing.

So you can decide whether you want to shift more of your problems to the hardware or to the software.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

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