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Comment Re:TSA-like Money for Fear (Score 2) 271

You've just stated you completely fail to understand the nature of EMP. The most dangerous EMP event is a large nuclear warhead exploded high above the ground, too high to do any meaningful damage on the ground. The damage is caused by the electromagnetic radiation released from the blast as EMP. It only takes one explosion. That isn't a nuclear Armageddon. It is returning a major post-industrial computer based society to a horse and wagon based economy in seconds, without having the horses and wagons to do the work not to mention the computers, computer controlled vehicles (engines), and other electronics.

Having watched Dark Angel I used to think a hydrogen bomb could do that kind of damage. But AFAIK the biggest man-made EMP ever to damage a city was caused by Starfish Prime. It was a 1.44 megaton H-bomb detonated high in the atmosphere, which caused damage in Hawaii, 1,445 kilometres (898 mi) away. The power didn't go out, though, and the damage was limited. Clearly, the EMP from an H-bomb is bad for electronics, but I doubt there's any way that a single bomb of realistic size could knock the entire United States back to a "horse and wagon based economy".

You have to ask: if someone wants to attack with an H-bomb, what is more likely: that they would use it as a normal bomb to kill people, or as an EMP to knock out power and damage electronics in less than a 1000-mile radius? Given the seemingly limited devastation (and the need for a rocket in addition to the bomb itself), I think terrorists would surely choose option one. I imagine option two might be considered as part of a World War 3, in which case the aggressor might well use several bombs, and EMPs could be just the beginning of our worries: "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

There is another source of EMP that could be more devastating than any single man-made bomb: see the Carrington Event.

Comment Re:If I have kids... (Score 2) 355

I don't think the "use of technology" causes these problems. Rather it is the failure of children to play much with physical objects, as all previous generations have done, and in extreme cases, failure to learn social interaction. That doesn't mean we have to eliminate computers from children's lives, it means children need more parenting and human contact.

Comment Another way to look at "rich" (Score 1) 818

This study defines "rich people" as those making around $146000/year.

If you think about it, there's no control for expenses there, so it's not a very effective definition (I'm always kind of a amazed at the mindset in the US that tries to simplify things by drawing a numeric line in the sand, as if there were no other issues. And people put up with it. We need better schools.

I define "rich" as: wealthy enough to be living in a manner comfortable in every material way to the individual or family, and able to survive indefinitely in that state, or in an increasingly wealthy state without relying on income from, or charity of, others. Regardless of if one actually chooses to exist in that state, or not.

Not trying to force that definition on anyone else, but that's how I see it personally.

Comment TFS (and perhaps TFA) has it wrong (Score 1) 818

The transition was from a flawed, but still readily identifiable constitutional republic (not a democracy), to a corporate oligarchy.

This has never been a democracy, and furthermore, the constitution insists that the federal government guarantee each state a republican form of government, as in, a republic -- not a democracy. That's in article 4, section 4.

This is why representatives decide the actual matters, and voters don't, in the basic design.

Of course, now even the representatives don't decide -- nor judges -- if the legislation deals in any significant way with business interests. The only way the old system still operates even remotely the way it was designed to is when the issue(s) at hand a purely social ones. Even then, the bill of rights seems to be at the very bottom of any legislator's or judge's list of concerns.

Can't see any of this changing, though. The public is too uninformed, and short of completely revamping the school curriculums, they're going to remain that way.

Comment Re:Denial of the root cause (Score 2) 343

Uh, have you noticed that the countries with the most wealth seem to have the least children? So my (naive) view would be that increasing the "material expectations" of the population, by increasing the wealth of the masses, has a better chance of avoiding dangerous overcrowding than keeping the majority of the world poor. One-child policies like China's, while on the extreme side, are also effective.

I suppose when you talk of "material expectations" you are thinking of North Americans and their rampant consumerism. I submit that this is not a problem with "human beings" so much as a problem with Americans and other affluent cultures. "Human beings" are certainly capable of living with less; most often this occurs due to lack of wealth, but there are a lot of things that we could voluntarily give up without harming our quality of life.

For example, when you go to McDonald's, do you really need the 3 napkins they give you automatically? Does your Big Mac really have to come in a box that you immediately throw away? Could re-usable plastic cups be used instead? Likewise in our home life, I know most people could find, if they wanted, ways to reduce waste and use less energy. Did you know you can turn the stove off before you remove the pot, and it can keep cooking for up to several minutes? Did you know apples with blemishes are safe to eat? Personally, I have a good quality of life as I try my best to reduce waste, but I know many of my peers waste a lot of food and goods and their lives are no better for it. I submit that this is an issue of human culture rather than human beings.

Comment Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (Score 1) 433

It's interesting to watch the different arguments from pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear forces. The pro-nuclear forces point out that building all new power plants as 100% renewable in the near future is not practical but a mixture of renewables and nuclear is. They go on to point out the relatively high rate of deaths from coal power (such as direct deaths in coal mines, and indirect deaths from air pollution) per unit of power generated, compared to the few deaths from nuclear. They may even then point out that petroleum power in general has a poor safety record compared to nuclear worldwide.

The anti-nuclear crowd, meanwhile, either focuses on a tiny number of accidents like Chernobyl and a couple of problematic, but non-lethal, old reactor designs (like the 1970 pebble-bed reactor mentioned by the parent), as if costly problems are unique to the nuclear industry. After all, why pay any attention to accidents, deaths or cost overruns in fossil-fuel power when we can simply make every single new power plant a renewable power plant? Never mind that not every place in the world has plentiful sunlight or wind. They then move on to the only argument about nuclear that is actually fair--that it often costs more than renewables.

Nuclear faces political and popular opposition, often due to outdated opinions based on a few unsafe reactors from the 60s and 70s (did you know that Fukushima reactor 1 was built before Chernobyl? Or that there is another nearby reactor run by a more safety-conscious company that survived the tsunami?). This opposition and regulatory uncertainty increases costs, plus reactors are traditionally built with the "craftsman" approach where every reactor is large, somewhat unique, and built on-site. It seems to me that costs could be reduced greatly if nuclear reactors were mass-produced like trucks (small reactors seem to work great for nuclear subs!) and distributed around the country from factories, and if they used passive failsafes to make uncontrolled meltdowns "impossible" so that outer containment chambers could be less costly.

But the public opposition is no small barrier to overcome. Remember how a Tesla car makes nationwide news whenever a single battery pack is damaged and catches fire, even though there are 150,000 vehicle fires reported every year in the U.S.? You can expect the same thing with small modular reactors--barring some terrible disaster, all sorts of problems with petroleum power plants will be scarcely noticed, while a single minor nuclear incident will make nationwide headlines. Surely this makes potential nuclear investors nervous.

Comment Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 218

How's your quad record?

Not nearly as good (or nearly as long.) No dead kids. One live and very stupid adult (ten hours), a lost cow. about 15 minutes, poor thing was stuck in a mudhole --- getting it out was a lot more challenging than finding it, and two dogs, one of which was seriously snakebit and down hard, but survived. They were both pretty hard to find. Size matters. And yes, this is all pretty new to me. Which is not to say it's not worthy. It's rewarding as all get out.

Quad's do not have the range, period.

You can cover a square km -- which is a *lot* of area -- perfectly with a pair of quads in rotation, regardless of terrain, with 99% uptime and plenty of reserves using some very simple procedures. Move 1km, repeat. It's reasonably efficient, and the search is much more fine grained -- it's almost impossible to miss something of reasonable size, those dogs notwithstanding. More below; see the other replies. I don't feel like explaining all this twice.

It is common sense, called glide.

You know what glide is? It's continuous motion, which loses detail, requires faster cameras for the same quality image (higher shutter speed, higher ISO), and raises the noise level in lower light. You know what glide requires? Height. You know what too much height does? Reduces detail. And that's not even all of the issues. You see, it's not that obvious after all. The task is to find, not just to fly long distances. When distance methodologies compromise seeing, as they tend to do, other options offer useful compromises.

You'd be a lot better off asking questions than you are pooh-poohing without knowing what you're talking about. Of course, this *is* slashdot, sigh.

Comment Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 218

They are only popular because they are mechanically simple WITH MODERN ELECTRONICS. You can not fly a quad without computer augmentation.

Yes, and? I didn't suggest attempting this with obsolete, unstable old hardware. I really don't see your point. Quads with camera mounts and "modern electronics" (meaning GPS, compass, active pitch control/tilt sensors, altimeter, rock solid XYZ hover with no control input, auto-return) start at about $470. They get even better from there. A trunk full of them is within the budget of almost any S/R group with the willingness to stand in intersections for a day or so with hats and signboards out. Or courtesy of one or two kind benefactors. First thing I did after flying my first one was pull my jaw off the ground and go right back and buy the rest they had in stock. Had to be done, really.

I can take one up, hover it, take a stable high resolution image, move it, take another stable high resolution image, etc. This means even when it's getting dark, I have better detail -- and lower noise -- because I don't have to have such fast exposures. Bring it back (no landing strip required), swap quads and go back out on the next radial, while the crew pops a new battery into the just-returned unit, repeat every ten-fifteen minutes or so, and keep doing that while the images are checked over carefully. Out on one radial, in on the next. Full circle till you repo to the next GPS indexed location. Works great.

Gimbals... the quad can spin in place. While hovering in an extremely stable manner, for that matter, or spinning/panning while working through any set of heights I choose. Be nice to just have a tilt control. More weight. It's really not seriously limiting, nothing like that yet. Should try it though. Tilting the quad itself isn't really possible without it moving, or at least, not the ones I'm using.

While the range/duration would be wonderful, fixed wing requires far too much for this area -- your seaplane is great in some ways, but there's no body of water around here worth talking about for the vast majority of the area. There's nowhere to land. Nowhere to take off. "Wet grass takeoff"? Grass? How about rocks and cactus and nasty, sticky sand? Kind of puts a crimp in fixed wing efforts. Quad simply doesn't care. Put it down (on a rock, on your 4x4 or snowmobile, or just open your hand), up it goes, and you're off and hunting.

Then there are the badlands. Even worse. Not only is there no water, nowhere to take off, nowhere to land, the bloody ground wants to break you -- it's unstable everywhere, either collapsing under you or falling on top of you. Which is part of why people get stuck out there in the first place (wish to heck they just wouldn't go.) With a FW, how do you work down a twisty arroyo that's too complex to follow at speed, and too deep to get a camera angle into because you can't stay over it long enough to make it count? I can just go there and drop right into it and work it right along at whatever rate is convenient. Success? Pop-up and strobe. Awesome.

Battery reload is not the critical issue when you can see better, navigate better, have a more stable platform, get looks into places like arroyos and caves and under-hangs and under trees and bushes that would otherwise completely block your view, and remain on station instead of having to fly by repeatedly when it's called for. You can hover and think instead of getting further from a point of interest with every moment. Battery reload is nothing. You bring em back, instantly take another one off, while that one is reloaded, charge packs as required, no problem. Preparation is key, of course -- but it certainly isn't a problem or even a challenge. You still get essentially 99% active search time without overlap -- or underlap. I throw a trunk in, grab my crew, and go.

Aerobatics... that's an interesting undertaking, but not relevant for my use. Although I've seen people do some crazy things with quads, my own interest is strictly useful camera work. I have shots you simply can't get from a FW platform. Impossible. Quads are *wonderful* already. And of course, like everything else, they keep getting better. And with practice, so does the pilot, although they are about a zillion times easier to fly right out of the box than FW r/c aircraft, or at least any FW r/c aircraft I've ever had the pleasure of flying.

Best of luck in your endeavors. Don't rule out quads!

Comment Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 218

Nonsense. Quads are ideal for turning one person into a center of a decent radius search at a rate much higher than can be done alone. Duration is as long as you have a pocket full of batteries and a vehicle (anything... a 4x4 or a dirt bike will do) available to charge them, which could be days at a time. My quad can hit just under a hundred, so it's way faster than it needs to be for any sensible perception of what you (or it) is looking at. You have no idea what you're talking about. I've been out on hunts for people many times here in Montana, and I can tell you if I'd had the quad then, I'd have a much better idea of what was around me, a lot sooner. Many searches are of relatively small areas, and often by small groups. Anything that helps... helps!

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Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine