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Comment: Re:take from the aircraft/drone world (Score 1) 184 184

Passenger jets didn't have HUDs for a long time (maybe most still don't). Fighter jets got them pretty much as soon as the technology was practical. HUDs were designed for providing information in circumstances where the pilot is very much in control, and under a heavy workload.

I remember reading about HUDs in the nineties though, and the design was critical. What you presented, and how, made the difference between a valuable tool and a worse than useless distraction.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 184 184

I teach sailing. I've noticed that almost all students are nearly incapable of switching their attention among multiple things. They fixate on what they're doing with the throttle when backing out of a slip and forget about watching where the boat is. Or they remember to watch off the stern and forget about the bow. Actually sailing, they watch their heading and forget about the wind, or vice versa. If they get distracted, it all goes to hell. But, with practice and a teacher reminding them, they learn. Sometimes we chat so they get practice having a conversation (and more importantly, ignoring a conversation when necessary) and sailing at the same time.

I remember my driving instructor doing the same thing. Do you know what's behind you? When was the last time you checked your mirrors? How fast are you going? What did that sign say?

You can learn to deal with distractions, but you have to specifically practice, and it doesn't hurt to have a teacher.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of hands-free cell phones (Score 1) 184 184

Smoking (and regular cell phone use) also tie up a hand. If you've ever driven under less than ideal circumstances you know how helpful a second hand on the wheel is. Most people hesitate to drop their burning plant matter or expensive cell phone in an emergency.

Comment: Re:a bright future (Score 2) 39 39

That particular plane is designed the way it is not because they thought it looked cool, but because the realities of solar power require it. All the methods of harvesting solar power are heavy and bulky per kilowatt compared to something like aviation fuel. That means you need to have a plane that is slow (for energy efficient flight), very large (lots of area for solar panels and big wings for slow flight), and has a small cargo capacity for its size.

Even with improvements in solar panel design, the amount of sunlight that reaches the plane is limited.

The best design for a solar plane with the capabilities of current planes might well be a regular solar farm powering a conventional fuel synthesis plant.

Comment: Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 1, Insightful) 126 126

"Working programmers" don't need degrees in computer science. They need diplomas or certificates in programming.

Even so, it's not a bad idea to know something about the tools you're using. Perhaps knowing something about how those vertices are stored might help write efficient code for manipulating them?

Comment: Just replace the battery (Score 1) 149 149

Hey Mark Wilson, quit whining and just replace your battery. If you can't work a screwdriver yourself, I'm sure someone around here still knows how. You can buy replacement batteries on eBay, Amazon, or ifixit.com even comes with detailed instructions. Most models take about 10 minutes.

Comment: In the USA... (Score 1) 187 187

Monsanto would have spent the money and had it blocked from market because it does not use any pesticides. (remember their successful round up ready approach lets them charge for GM seeds AND for the pesticides for the genetic disease they unleashed. Oh yes, it's a genetic disease, they didn't make the plant sterile for the same reason they someday will likely create pathogens where only they have the cure. )

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 1) 187 187

It's pretty clear that you can't just shake some of your patented magic dust on my stuff and then claim it as your own. Monsanto got a lot of press for bullying farmers, but to my knowledge no case against someone accidentally growing a GMO has ever gone to court. In the Schmeiser case in Canada, Monsanto dropped all the claims regarding accidental contamination, probably because the court would have found against them.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"

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