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Comment: Re:Range? (Score 1) 52

by dr.newton (#47786833) Attached to: Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

A 5-foot wingspan on a quad allows for huge props. That can lead to very long flight times with a well-engineered drone.

My 3DRobotics Y6 can do 90km/h, even if only for 8 minutes on one battery. That's a range of 6km, including return flight. Range would be higher at a lower speed, as it's more efficient, although I haven't had the balls to send the drone that far away from me in flight to test it. I'd guess I could do 10km out and 10km back on a $75 battery if I had the nerve to lose sight of my baby for that long.

See http://diydrones.com/profiles/... . These guys hope for a 1-hour flight time out of a quad with 27"-29" props on a 12kg (26lb.) drone. That's a range of 25km out and 25km back at a speed of 50km/h, which is not that fast. They've done some math that leads me to believe they are at least in the ballpark. And these guys are hobbyists.

Not such a stretch to think a company like Google could cover some good distance with a quadcopter of 9kg (19lbs.). 16km (10mi), as you say, is definitely achievable with current technology, and battery technology is due for a drastic improvement, with all the resources being put into it by different universities and companies.

Comment: Mechanical muscles vs. mechanical minds (Score 1) 304

by dr.newton (#47679549) Attached to: Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

That distinction reminded me of the Butlerian Jihad from Dune. The backlash against thinking machines caused humanity to destroy them and forbid their creation.

I always wondered how you draw the line between the two. Seems like the video is no advocating drawing a line at all, but instead just accepting that this will happen and planning for it, because "economics always wins".

Hard to argue with the prediction that most humans will be unemployable at some point in the future.

Technology

+ - Android 4.0 confirmed for Gingerbread devices->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google's own Gabe Cohen and Matias Duarte have both confirmed that Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is coming to the Nexus S, Nexus One, and most Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices. It's now a question of when that will happen. As many Android device owners know, Google releasing a new version of the OS doesn't mean you'll get it soon on your device. It can takes weeks or even months to filter down."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:This judge mostly gets it (Score 2) 173

by dr.newton (#36845038) Attached to: Google: Sun Offered To License Java For $100M

Agreed! I was surprised to see that the judge used those words, as I thought the question to be answered by a Sun employee not on Oracle's payroll was not "is fragmentation bad?", but rather "did Android fragment Java?"

From earlier in TFA:

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's former CEO...testified that Android did not fragment the Java platform.

Comment: Re:Build a mouse brain first. (Score 1) 116

by dr.newton (#36684136) Attached to: A Million Node Supercomputer

Even if they fail to produce anything interesting, that in itself will be an interesting result.

There are likely a number of assumptions about intelligence as an emergent behaviour of non-quantum physical phenomena that could be invalidated by the failure of this experiment.

"Brains can't work according to such-and-such a principle, because if that were true, Furber would've succeeded."

Comment: Re:Evil overlord's minions demand more evil. (Score 1) 580

by dr.newton (#36388266) Attached to: Silverlight Developers Rally Against Windows 8

Built-in adaptive bitrate streaming probably made their lives a lot easier when developing a client. That's why so much video delivery is done through Silverlight - it's either that, HLS, or WebM.

However, it looks like HLS is the way of the future. Used (and developed?) mostly by Apple until recently, it's got some advantages (uses HTTP, so benefits from existing caching solutions and is accessible through firewalls), and Google supports it in Android 3.0 and later. Other companies that need to do over-the-top video delivery are also jumping on the bandwagon.

It looks like MS sees the writing on the wall.

Comment: For once, not Sony (Score 2) 190

by dr.newton (#36081178) Attached to: The Psychology of Steam Wallet & Microsoft Points

Sony actually doesn't have a similar system. There are two differences:

1. If your purchase is over $5, you can opt to be charged exactly the amount of your purchase.
2. I see prices in my local currency.

Back in the day when I thought Sony were trying to be the good guys with the PS3 (allowed linux without a fight, let us plug in regular USB peripherals, supported SD and CF cards, supported user-upgradeable hard disks) this was one of the things that made me glad I had bought one.

Seems things have changed a lot in 4 years, but they don't make it difficult to get to a zero balance in my PSN account (when I can access it at all ;) ).

Japan

+ - Quake moved Japan coast 8 ft; shifted Earth's ax->

Submitted by
SoyQueSoy
SoyQueSoy writes "CNN is reporting that the powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami on Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) according to Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Also, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters)."

Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Nuclear Emergency Declared at 2 Plants in Japan 2

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "CBC reports that Japan has declared a state of emergency and called for mass evacuations near two nuclear power plants following cooling systems failures that led to radiation escaping from a reactor at one location. The emergency declarations, which include five reactors at the two plants, followed Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the country's northeast coast. In a troubling announcement, Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official Ryohei Shiomi said a monitoring device outside the plant detected radiation that is eight times higher than normal and an evacuation zone has been expanded from three kilometres around the plant to 10 kilometres."

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