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Comment Re: What do you mean by "can"? (Score 1) 259

Stay with the herd then. Your compliance is noted and appreciated.

Ummm...you really need to look in a mirror. So you're breaking out of the herd by going out and voting with everyone else even though it won't and can't change anything? Non-compliance is plodding along doing exactly what the government tells you all good citizens are supposed to do? Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Comment Re: What do you mean by "can"? (Score 1) 259

Funny part is, even the people within the political machines with near certain victories tend to feel like they can't radically fix things because the system won't allow it. I'm not kidding, I've had politicians basically tell me so while intoxicated.

Ramen to that. This is what people need to wake up to. Voting within the current system isn't going to change anything. Problem is everyone is so tied up in "America bastion of democracy and land of the free" they can't see past the propaganda they've been bombarded with their entire lives.

That brings up the question. How does one change the system short of violent revolution? Given the technology available today and the open source paradigm I truly believe direct democracy is practical in a society like America's. But how do we get there?

Comment Re: What do you mean by "can"? (Score 1) 259

There are more than two possible choices on your ballot. Use them wisely, or quit your bellyaching.

None of the choices on any ballot in the current system are going to make a lick of difference. The system as it stands is completely broken. Continuing to vote in the current system does nothing but perpetuate it. And it's not bellyaching. It's leaving the "America land of the free" fantasy world and facing up to the facts. A lot more people need to do it before anything is going to change.

Comment Re: What do you mean by "can"? (Score 1) 259

My dad was a mid level political player in state politics. Even he joked that if voting could change anything, it'd be illegal. He grew up with the Philly Democrat machine. Every election was basically fixed. Republicans have their own parts of the country that they "own" as well.

Funny part is, even the people within the political machines with near certain victories tend to feel like they can't radically fix things because the system won't allow it. I'm not kidding, I've had politicians basically tell me so while intoxicated. "Your district is 99.99% (insert Repub or Dem), short of being caught with a live boy or dead girl, you're getting re elected. What's stopping you from going Ron Paul*? - You don't understand. You can't fight the system. You only have so much leeway to work within." * Not specifically endorsing Ron Paul, he's just well known for bucking the party line when it came to votes. I meant "Do whatever you want regardless of your party's desires."

Comment Re:What do you mean by "can"? (Score 2) 259

Meh. Most people don't care because they're generally too busy trying to pay the bills, raise their kids, keep the car running, etc. More than 70% of Americans don't want to get involved in Syria. A lot of the more neutral polls show much much softer support for indefinite detention, pervasive surveillance state and the rest. Without rigged polls, the majority wants basically the status quo. They're fine with some degree of horrific government authority, for edge cases. They're not exactly drooling for the NSA to become the next Stasi.

That's how it always has been, that's how it always will be. The majority don't want to rock the boat because they're too busy trying to live. It's only a relatively handful of ideological extremists on either end of the spectrum that tend towards radical change, usually for the worse.

Comment Re:What do you mean by "can"? (Score 2) 259

But even cynical as I am, the despairing belief that the United States of America is currently little more than a well-disguised police-state is so blatantly false to anyone who lives here as to be laughable.

You're drinking the coolaid. The US Library of Congress doesn't even know how many laws there are much less what they may be. The people who create the tax code have no idea how to follow it. You have to devote your career to the tax code to have even a reasonable understanding of it. Just given those 2 pretty much everyone in the US is a criminal. And the NSA is busy collecting all the evidence and then secretly giving it to the police to use against you when ever they want. Sure you can protest as long as you only do within the Government mandated restrictions. Step out of those bounds and you're off to jail.

That we can have this conversation without fear of retribution at all is testament to that fact.

I can't find it at the moment but just yesterday I was reading an article that the Chinese government allows people to talk and complain about the government as much as they want. As long as it's just talk. Once actions start any dissent is oppressed. This bares a striking resemblance to what happened with the Occupy Wall Street movement. It was all good and fine until people actually started doing something. Then the peaceful protest were forcible oppressed. You have just enough freedom to keep you in line. If you get out of line those freedoms all go away.

Wish I had time to write more but I'm on lunch.

Comment nearly-airgapped (Score 1) 222

Even full automation would probably not be an issue if the control systems were heavily firewalled - i.e. no sort of network link, just a single unsigned number delivered via parallel port that indicates desired power output. No buffers to overrun, no data structures to exploit, just a single N-bit desired power indicator that gets read at regular intervals. Couple that with a post-firewall automated sanity check that requires human confirmation for any abnormal behaviors and you're pretty solidly insulated while having millisecond response times to normal load balancing commands.

Comment Re:hey stupid (Score 1) 222

And if fiber optic I believe it would be extremely difficult to tap into the lines discretely if designed to notice such attempts. You can't just "twist on" a tap like an electrical line, you pretty much have to sever the cable and splice in an optical junction. If there's a handshake signal every few milliseconds it would be extremely difficult to tap into the line without raising an alarm. Even more so if the signal was monitored for any power drops that would result from an attempt to graft on to a partially severed cable.

Comment Re:Windmills do not work that way, Human! (Score 1) 158

It would seem to me, with my admittedly limited familiarity with airships, that moderate highly-changeable winds would be a minor issue. An airship isn't exactly low-mass, there's a lot of momentum there, so even with all that surface area any gust tat doesn't last long enough to impart significant speed is a non-issue.

I don't know many details, and I'd love a more informative article on the landing mechanics if you know of one, but as I picture it the landing Aeros would switch to vertical thrust and hover above the desired landing spot while lowering it's buoyancy until it would sit firmly on the ground. At that point it then lowers almost to the ground and waits until it's thrust and the wind conspire to give it a near-zero ground-speed, and then cut thrust so that it essentially falls out of the air and gets "gravity-tethered" in place. Possibly assisted by a ground crew with tethering lines, but they wouldn't be nearly as necessary as for a lighter-than-air craft which has to be winched down. Once on the ground it's simply a question of whether it's weight is sufficient to hold it against the wind, and I imagine a few tethering lines would help with that, as could possibly it's low-profile shape which would both reduce the lateral wind forces and quite possibly generate a downward Bernoulli-effect force from wind that gets channeled underneath it, sucking it against the ground.

Comment Re:Windmills do not work that way, Human! (Score 1) 158

Ah, missed that. Looking at it now though it seems like a very different design:
- They mention maintaining a necessary envelope pressure, suggesting that it's a blimp rather than a zeppelin which has a rigid frame typically operated at roughly ambient pressure. Essentially the pumping of air seems to be just to keep the airfoil inflated as the ambient pressure changes. The Aeroscraft on the other hand actually alters their buoyancy so that they can become substantially heavier than air. That's the uncommon element.
- Which leads to the difference in second element, the vectored thrust engines. Not uncommon on airships since it adds a lot of maneuverability, but typically they're strictly for maneuvering, they couldn't hope to hold the airship in the air, while it sounds like the Aeroscraft engines are designed to do just that. Which allows it to operate as a lighter-than air craft while traveling, but when landing it can use it's engines "helicopter style" to hold it up in the air while it reduces it's buoyancy. After which it can throttle back and mange a firm, controlled, gravity-assisted landing rather than being just a balloon tethered to the ground so it doesn't blow away.

Comment Statistics don't work that way (Score 1) 158

Statistics don't work that way. It is irrelevant to the crash rate how many flights a particular airship made before it crashed - a one-in-a-million outcome is just as likely to occur on the first test as on the millionth. To find the actual crash rate you would have to look at the total number of Hindenburg-style airship flights and divide the number of crashes by the total number flights. You'd need to have a statistically valid number of airships in action to confirm that it was a design flaw and not a manufacturing defect or operator error.

Consider the Titanic - the fact that it sank on it's maiden voyage doesn't mean there was any great flaw in the ship itself.

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