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Comment: I can see how you could think it dangerous. (Score 1) 200

by robbak (#47390971) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

But I can also apply physics and see how the danger is very small.

The biggest point is that the sky is big and both the shells and the drone are small. The chance of the two coming into contact is negligible. The risk of anything bad happening if that happens is also very small - the only thing I can see happening is if a rotor happens to cut the shell's fuse. The shell is too heavy for a fragile drone to have much effect on it.

Comment: Heavy solid shell, light fragile drone. (Score 3, Insightful) 200

by robbak (#47390935) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

The shell smashes the drone into tiny bits of confetti, and continues on it's merry way. Or, more likely the shell snaps off a rotor arm without noticing.

They will not bounce off each other like billiard balls. That's what happens when you have a collision between equal mass objects in which kinetic energy is conserved. This would be a collision between different mass objects where energy is lost to work - destroying the drone. The one with the most momentum wins.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by robbak (#47390927) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Professional fireworks are mortar-fired shells, not rockets that can go off-course if nudged. So if a shell hit the drone on the way up, it would smash straight through it and keep on going. There is not enough mass in a drone, and a drone is not solid enough, to deflect the solid mass of a firework shell travelling at speed. It might not quite reach the same height by a few meters, or might end up a couple of feet off target, but neither of these things would matter.

And if the drone is up at altitude where the shells explode, then there is even less speed involved. The shell has reached it's height - so what if it taps a drone before detonating.

There is also whole lot of sky, and both shells and drones are small. The chance of the two coming together is practically nil.

Amazing pictures captured with zero risk. Images from a drone up there amongst it all should be a permanent feature of firework presentations.

Comment: What with all the other debris? (Score 5, Interesting) 200

by robbak (#47390871) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

The area under a fireworks show already gets peppered with the remains of all the exploded shells. A little added debris from a drone struck by part of the fireworks would make no difference. They always make sure that the fallout zone is in a safe area.

Add to that that the shells are mortar-fired, not rockets, and the risk of this is practically nil. Way less than the risks of just using and handling all that explosive.

Every professional fireworks show - at least, all those that are televised - should include shots from a drone up there amongst it all. The spectacular pictures are well worth the tiny risk.

Comment: De-orbit means 'remove it from orbit' (Score 2) 213

by robbak (#47081673) Attached to: Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

In order to take something from earth orbit and get it to the sun, you have to take it from earth's speed of 30 km/sec and slow it down to zero. Only when will it fall into the sun. If you leave any of that orbital speed on that object, then it will miss the sun, swing around it like a comet, and head back to where it came from. You could perhaps use a fly-by of Venus and/or Mercury to help you with that, but it's still a near-impossible thing to do. This is what is meant here by de-orbit.

Comment: 'Australia' doesn't want to take it. (Score 1) 213

by robbak (#47081631) Attached to: Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

... although it undoubtedly would be a good move. Good for Australia, although a better move would not involve transporting the stuff halfway across the planet.

This is one ex-politician speaking - and speaking more sense than he ever did while in office.

It's a myth that we don't know what to do about nuclear waste - we know exactly what to do with it - cast it in ceramics, drill a deep hole into old, stable rock, place it in the hole, and seal it. Oh, after reprocessing and using fast breeder reactors to reuse most of it. All we have to do is just do it - but it is too easy to raise pseudo-environmental and NIMBY anger to prevent it actually happening.

Comment: For mobile? That is BETA's worst failure (Score 1) 2219

by robbak (#46185669) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

I seem to be locked into beta on my phone, and it just simply doesn't work. 3 comments down, and the comments are single-word lines, and a few more nested comments down, even that breaks. Even though I visit, i end up at beta.

Look, someone with black-hat skills, track down their dev environment and rm -r it for us, please?

+ - An open letter to the management of Slashdot. 14

Submitted by onyxruby
onyxruby (118189) writes "I have been watch for some time now as Slashdot has started beta testing a new version of the website. As you are well aware the new site would constitute a complete change to the look, interface and functionality of

Change happens, and for those of us who work with technology for a living it is the only constant. Change is a process and in and of itself is not a bad thing when it offers improvement. Unfortunately the change that has been offered negatively impacts the look, interface and most importantly the functionality of Slashdot.
Many people have had trouble reverting back to the classic interface. The new interface simply does not offer the functionality of the old. Things like statistics, comments and layout are very difficult to find. You have a community that lives and breathes data and want to know their data. How is my comment ranked, how many people responded – it’s really all about the dialogue. Can I get the information that I want in a readily digestible format?

As you’re well aware the new site does not offer the very thing that people come here for. This in and of itself is not why your community has organized a boycott of Beta. The boycott was originated because the new version will be implemented whether the community wants it or not.

I want to explain why this change has gone down people’s throats about as well as Windows 8’s Metro interface. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the interface and everything to do with the perception that the editors and management of Slashdot appear to have.

The message that has been consistently handed down is that we are “your audience”. We are not your “your audience” we are your product. People do not come to Slashdot for the news stories, there are untold other sites that provide those as well as professional and original writing about them. People come here for the community of insiders from across the industry.

Please respect the community and stop what you’re doing. You have commented that you don’t want to maintain two code bases. Your community works in the industry and understands this, which leads many to suggest you abandon the new code base entirely so that you are only maintaining once code base. Tell us what your trying to accomplish and I would imagine that a wide range of experts would be more than willing to help you meet your goals."

Comment: They are taking it to a 'safe dumping zone'. (Score 3, Insightful) 277

by robbak (#46138859) Attached to: Australia OKs Dumping Dredge Waste In Barrier Reef

They have chosen a safe dumping zone where the movement of silt won't cause problems. But the entire east coast of Queensland, however, is the marine park, so all the safe dumping zones are inside the 'park'. So that means that GBRMPA has to check the details and make sure that what the engineers have worked out is a safe dumping zone is actually one, and that the currents won't take large quantities of fine silt onto reefs. They have done so, worked out that it is, and the world moves on.

Now whether anyone should be digging up coal and shipping it to places where it will be burnt is another matter. But the placement of the dredge spoil is simple engineering.

This is the theory that Jack built. This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built. This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...