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Comment: Re:Shocking... (Score 1) 550

by mikael (#46819993) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

There is a suspicion that corporations will bias science for their own ends and profit (oh yes, this treatment is perfectly safe, it won't cure you, but it will treat the symptoms). They will only consider research into a problem worthwhile if they can develop a long-term treatment rather than a final cure.

Comment: Re:OMG! (Score 1) 75

by mikael (#46795039) Attached to: DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

After watching all those documentaries on air crashes and how the FAA do the reconstruction of the plane crashes, the biggest improvements for the pilots would seem to be a display system showing the current state of the plane as a 3D model - just like the crash reconstructions, and having the flight deck log and display all the control setting changes along with times in the same way that the reconstruction does. That would catch simple things like pilots switching off the autopilots merely by moving the control column, or having thrust reversers for opposite engines in different settings. Though there were other things like weather radar systems that actually had the display system wrap-around calculations areas of extremely high raindrop/hailstone size - theoretically impossible, but due to extreme updraft conditions were actually present in the superstorm.

Comment: Re:BS (Score 1) 359

by mikael (#46764763) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Pre proposition-13, another hazard was "market-value adjustment" (MVA) of property taxes. Your neighbor decided to turn a sideyard into a ten storey condo. Initially, neighbors didn't complain, but then they were hit by a massive property tax increase because suddenly their acreage gained the market value of a ten-storey condo. So they protested, and height limits were put on buildings.

Comment: Re:The bay area used to have affordable housing (Score 1) 359

by mikael (#46764707) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

It has been well documented. "The Exploding Metropolis" by the editors of Fortune magazine goes beyond a "ludicrously long article" and is an entire book dedicated to the whole subject (there are probably online versons which can be previewed or downloaded):

The unfortunate thing was that whenever incredible amounts of money were spent on providing decent high-rise accommodation for the poor (just as much white as black), the residents would take it upon themselves to crowd in as many relatives as possible into one apartment, use wide hallways as playrooms and storage space and yet others would get bored and decide to go elevator surfing and end up breaking those systems. Some even decided to play games by jumping down the waste disposal chutes in the middle of the night. In the UK and USA, we've ended up having to spectacularly demolish such buildings because of these problems.

The physical energy cost of transporting building materials like concrete upwards means that only the wealthy can afford to live in condominium blocks.

Comment: Re:whine (Score 1) 226

by mikael (#46764517) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

That's one thing - any single item task is going to be broken down into sub-tasks and assigned to different people if not groups accordingly. And then those tasks may not be completed in sequential order. Then there's going to be one crunch-time for everyone when the last task is complete and things don't work. So it's a really nice thing if they can get one knows-everything-about-everything guru to complete that job.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 1) 218

by mikael (#46738137) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

The FAA are like a Home Owner Association.They'll use the catch-all clause "Every resident must not cause a nuisance or annoyance to the other residents." if they see something they don't like. Most of it is common sense like: all aircraft flights above 500 feet might have an approved flight plan. Any piloted flying vehicle must be air-worthiness approved and have a maintenance log. Any remote control model must remain in line of sight of the operator".

But then they have a problem with remote controlled vehicles with cameras, because they are out of line-of-sight,, but the operator can still see using the remote camera. That goes into a sort of gray-area, so they haven't made any rules up yet. Perhaps there should be a camera on a pole behind the model so the operator can see the state of the model relative to the surroundings.

Comment: Re:What's awesome... (Score 1) 65

by mikael (#46731077) Attached to: Fruit Flies, Fighter Jets Use Similar Evasive Tactics When Attacked

I'm not sure they can discriminate between a predator and non-predator. They go by smell to find food and partners. Just about anything that is a dark shadow or moves relative to the background is a potential predator - either they get squished or eaten,

They do vision by a method called "optic flow". Imagine everything you see is projected onto a hemispherical dome (like one of those IMAX theaters). The only way you can tell how the camera is moving is whether the picture rotates around a single point, a particular area of the picture gets larger or smaller and any combination of the two. How quickly different parts of the picture move tells them how near it is.

Comment: Re:A possum playing possum (Score 1) 270

by mikael (#46731009) Attached to: The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

The interesting thing about the home computers vs the IBM PC and clones was that the home computes (Atari ST, Amiga, Apple) were ahead of the IBM PC in terms of connectors (MIDI) and display capability (GUI's), but it only took a couple of graphics and audio boards (Soundblaster) for the PC to catch up.

I do have to wonder what the next two iterations are going to be? Wearable computing? Implantable computing?

Comment: Re:Trolling? (Score 1) 270

by mikael (#46730969) Attached to: The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

I would go for the Wacom style art tablet with a built-in screen, but still with a keyboard. That allows for additional interaction including tilt, pressure, and multiple stylus pens to be used simultaneously. I've tried explaining how to use a computer to some of my more senior relatives, and they immediately get all annoyed and panicky when I tell them to "grab the mouse, and pull it towards them". They panic at the thought there is a rodent on the table.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]