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Comment: Re:Not about jealousy, but ... (Score 1) 265

by mikael (#47421663) Attached to: Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

You could say the same about the difference between shopping malls and individual shop units. With housing, terraced homes are more energy efficient than detached homes since the common walls are usually at the same temperature compared to the outside.

Imagine you divided the space up into cubes, each the side of a shop. Each side of a cube can be outside air, insulated wall, uninsulated wall, open space. Suppose you have 1000 units. With individual stores, that's 5000 sides that need to be insulating. If you have one shopping mall, with shops side-by-side, there are only 500 sides that need insulating. Even with the extra floor space for plazas, staircases, that's still no more than a few hundred rooftops.

It's no different from an office block. Some modern designs actually have separate frameworks for the exterior walls and the floors, so you have a greenhouse architecture where each can be modified without affecting the other. It's just a dome but with flatter sides.

Comment: Re:Expert System (Score 1) 159

by mikael (#47404029) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

There was another variation where you could give the expert system a list of ingredients that you had available, and the system would tell you which drinks you could make and optionally how many.

Back in the 1990's, having a expert system that could generate the course timetables for the whole university was a holy grail of all AI departments. Most of the time it worked but every now and again it would generate courses that clashed, requiring some extra modification. Never knew whether they got it finally working.

Comment: Re:And when the video feed dies... (Score 1) 464

Instruments are rendered in software on generic high-contrast LCD monitors. If one monitor fails, they can switch over to another display. If engine power fails, they have an auxiliary generator. The only time all four engines have failed is when going through the ash-cloud plume of a volcano.

The patent describes a 3D view or holographic view. That's going to be interesting. Some sci-fi stories have described the idea of flying an aircraft using a 360 view dome/cylinder with cameras projecting images from each direction. The pilot would have a complete 360 degree view all around. With the latest projection technology, this would work with stereoscopic glasses. If the system could see infra-red, then it would be possible to see through fog, mist and haze.

Comment: Re:Is it safe? (Score 2) 118

by mikael (#47374001) Attached to: Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Back in the 1960's, we used to build high-rise buildings using pre-fabricated blocks. Bits of geometry like stairwells, floors, blank walls and window frames. The only problem was that these structures were completely air-tight with no ventilation or air conditioning. Combine that with people cooking, drying off laundry in their living room and airing closets, there wasn't anywhere for the moisture to go. So it just condensed into the walls creating mold and other health problems.

Comment: Re: They're infringing my Second-Amendment drone r (Score 1) 268

by mikael (#47343315) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

In those days, they had punt guns. These were wide bore barrels mounted directly onto a punt. and each could propel pellets in a wide and long enough range to take out a good number of a flock of ducks at one time. But there seem to be others that might have been used on land:


Comment: Re:Sounds like bad methology (Score 1) 78

I'd imagine they decompress the video into it's constituent frames. That's easy to do with various Linux command line tools. Now you have to determine whether each adjacent pair of images are moving forwards or backwards in time. You can split this task up into small tiles to make use of parallel processing. Now you've got various sorts of movement; no change (eg. blue sky), upwards movement (smoke, clouds, rockets), sideways movement (cars, people), downwards movement (stuff falling, parachutists). Each of those will have it's own pattern of pixel movement and colors.

If you can understand what an object is, you can impose some sort of expectations on how it will move. You just need to look at some of those early comedy movies where the directors discovered how to play a film reel backwards. A tractor/trailer going backwards wasn't unusual, but someone lying on the ground, rolling backwards then jumping back into a standing position on the trailer was. Another one would be paratroopers receive an order to retreat, standing in a field, inflating their parachutes and jumping upwards into the back of an aircraft. So some rules are: human figures don't jump higher than 2 or 3 feet without help of a trampoline or unless they are a super hero. Smoke doesn't concentrate itself back into a small tube. Liquids don't fall upwards into the ceiling. If the system can understand those rules, it can tell when a video is being played backwards or forwards.

Comment: Re:Not really (Score 2) 192

by mikael (#47298873) Attached to: China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

Neighbors have gone to war over the location of a fence. What happens is that a building company does two things; apply for planning permission and apply for change of registered land ownership. Sometimes they do one, and the paperwork fails to complete for the other. So the builder constructs a row of terraced homes and say, "Oh, by the way, a bit of your garden is owned by the residents on the other side of the fence, but they don't mind, so there really isn't anything to worry about".

Then the ownership of the other property changes, the new owner sees a way of increasing their market value of their property as well as gain new resources, and the bulldozers move in, leading to court action and bankruptcy.

Comment: Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (Score 1) 212

Anyone has visited or lived in Africa will tell you that. You just need to look at satellite photographs of Earth at night to see that Africa has electricity. Like any rural area, the main hazards to power supply are thunderstorms and local wildlife. Power failures are frequent, along with the associated power surges and fluctuating power line voltages.

Africa is on the equator, so the climate is like Florida or New York in Summer but all year round. Sunrise at 6am, sunset at 6pm. Air conditioning is a luxury usually available only to office blocks and hotels. Any building without air conditioning becomes an oven. So having a 32" 600 watt plasma display wouldn't be appreciated. A small 12" black/white CRT is ideal and the bulkiness prevents looters from stealing it.

Comment: Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (Score 1) 212

If it is a small mini-portable TV that fits in the corner of a mud-brick hut, then probably yes. There isn't much space once you have a couple of bunk-beds on each side of the door, a cooker and refrigerator on the far wall, and some cupboards on each side. The only space left is an upper corner, which is just enough space for a small TV.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_