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Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 3, Insightful) 483

by occasional_dabbler (#49176199) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial
This, absolutely this. Anyone with a brain and a conscience can say that Snowden did nothing but a service to the majority of the people in the world, whatever his motivation. Given his position as someone who could be 'crushed like a bug' by any side, he has a way better chance flying closer to Putins's flame than Obama's (or Jeb's or whatever other monstrosity the US vote in next)

Comment: We passed 'peak UX' (Score 1) 513

by occasional_dabbler (#49140607) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10
I'm going to set myself up for a karma decimation here, but I think MS already had the best UX of any platform, they just blew it by trying to smear it onto every device in existence.

Windows Phone 7

This was, and still is, a UX that fitted the device perfectly, it is intuitive, efficient and beautiful.

Some 'for instances'

why do we need a 'button'? This is already an artificial construct; if an idea is captured by text then touch the text to access the associated sub-levels. Or headings that extend beyond the screen; so you naturally swipe to see the end of the title and you get to the next page with a new title.

I am probably as upset as anybody for how Windows8/8.1/10 has evolved but for entirely the opposite reasons of most people.

Comment: Re:hooray for the government (Score 2) 68

by occasional_dabbler (#48628407) Attached to: Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC
My reply appeared above your comment, for some reason... Bird strike inside of the FAA rules should be acceptable as an everyday occurence (laundry bills aside). 1549 was outside of these rules (many more birds hitting both engines) and it was a lucky escape; a very experienced pilot and a suitable place for a ditching (The first well-observed and survivable ditching in maybe 50 years? - it was by no means certain that ditching was a safe manoevre; all the substantiation was from scale model tests and simulation - no full-size tests).

To be quite blunt: if a bird of 8lb goes into your engine you're ok, if a bird of 9lb goes into your engine there's no guarantee. If the bird's bigger brother goes down the other engine then you're in the realms of statistical probabilities and prayer.

Comment: Re:hooray for the government (Score 1) 68

by occasional_dabbler (#48628237) Attached to: Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC
One of the institutions of which our colonial cousins should be very proud is the FAA, who make all the aerospace regulations freely available. These may seem like archaic and restrictive laws to prevent you from building your own aeroplane/rocket/drone but in fact they are extremely well researched and analysed specifications for anyone who wants to make a safe aeroplane/rocket/drone. They are also copied pretty much verbatim by everyone except the Russians (who have a similar system but with significantly worse weather!) and us Europeans, who go to great lengths to harmonise with the FAA so that the rules are more or less equivalent

So let's get to details and look at 33.76 regarding bird strike. The rules regarding what an aircraft engine should be able to ingest are enlightening: even the largest engines are only certified safe to fly after ingesting a bird of 8lb. This is a lot less than a person (that was a ridiculous example from the GP; ingesting a person would destroy an engine). Birds are obviously a lot more easily ingested than a carbon-fibre and steel drone.

Any reasonably large drone would have enough mass to endanger a civil airliner and you're just playing the numbers until one is brought down with three to four hundred deaths.

Comment: Re:Space has its own problems (Score 1) 280

by occasional_dabbler (#48628011) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?
I think the problem is similar in both cases; the actual technical part, that people on /. are likely to enjoy, becomes a smaller part of the job the longer and/or more successful you are at it. If you work for a commercial enterprise then you are a businessman, and the people who enjoy that environment and get on are not generally the techies. If you want to stay in pure technical work then think about academia.

Comment: Re:Space has its own problems (Score 2) 280

by occasional_dabbler (#48612111) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?
Very well put. I took an engineering degree at one of the World's best schools (Cambridge University) I ended up as an aerospace engineer and it has not been a bad life, all told; I could take you around most civil airliners and show you the parts that were 'mine' with some pride.

What I know now is that I would have been happier and/or richer being either:

(a) a banker, or

(b) a programmer.

Most of engineering is very, very dull indeed.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.