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Comment Re:/. is becoming more and more irrelevant (Score 1) 181

Someone upvote the AC to let the lofty 4 digit UID guy know that he needs to take a refresher course in digit counting.

I want to 2nd that /. has always had some fluff as its content. And props to wannabe to remind us of when K5 existed and was the answer to /. "going soft".

It could very well be a slow tech news day. Talking about how marking droids, or trashing them if you so prefer, is a time honored tradition so why not have a thread about it.

Comment Re:This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 1) 124

My client was an ex-special forces commando. He was working a modest-paying state job in the Department of Agriculture (he was an old time farm boy) for "vacation money" but after 9/11 he disappeared for a couple of years. Nobody knew where he was, but when he came back he had full-bird colonel's pension. Even though he now had plenty of "vacation money", he went back to his old Ag job, I think just to feel like he had something productive to do. His real passion, however, was painting wildlife. I wouldn't say his stuff was terribly original, but it was technically impressive. If I handed you one of his bird paintings and told you it was an original Audubon you'd probably believe me unless you were an art expert. This was a down-to-earth guy with a surprisingly sensitive side, and if he wanted to kill you with his bare hands you wouldn't have a prayer.

I know this sounds like BS, but there's really nothing like the Deep South for bizarre and colorful characters. And oddballs have a way of flocking together, which probably means I should worry about knowing so many of them.

Comment This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 3, Interesting) 124

I once bummed a ride from Tallahassee to Tampa with a client, and he asked me if I minded if he took a detour to see the "Fish Man". I thought he meant a fish-monger, but then he turned his car off the highway an drove it through a gap in the chainlink fence. We went up a dirt track through the scrub pines to a glade with couple of trailers -- one of which had no sides and was outfitted as a living room. There were chicken wire pens scattered around the compound full of empty beer and paint cans.

The "Fish Man" turned out to be fat, shambling, hairy mountain of a man. He was almost naked, and monochromatically red-brown: shoulder-length frizzy red-brown hair, sunburned skin with strawberry-blond fur, and red-brown denim cargo shorts. You almost couldn't tell where the shorts ended and his body began, except that there was no fur on the shorts and when he turned around he showed about ten inches of ass crack. It was about 10:30 in the morning and he was drinking his breakfast from a gallon screw-top bottle. From out in the forest came the sound of trees being cut down.

We were here because the Fish Man was an artist my friend collected. The people cutting down trees were his apprentices. They'd moved thousands of miles from their city homes to live in a squatter's camp and study under him. My friend handed the Fish Man $250 and got a fish sculpture in return, which he later explained to me was a terrrific deal because that sculpture would have fetched $1000 in a gallery, easily.

I'm not an art person, but even I could see the thing was a masterpiece; it was breathtaking. It wasn't exactly representational, you might even have called it a little cartoonish, but somehow he'd captured a sense of movement; it looked alive.

The Fish Man invited watch him turn a curved blank from a hollow cypress into another one, a process that took only about ten minutes because he did it with a goddamn chainsaw.

There's a lesson in this about powerful tools. They can't make you into anything you aren't already. If you're a genius, they allow you to express your genius faster. If you're undisciplined and lazy, they make you unproductive on a grander scale.

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 246

What's to say they will not have actually learned anything or grown beyond their imperialist phase by the time they are so advanced?

That's not really the argument, is it? By the time they're that advanced, we have nothing they need. If we have anything they want, it's either food or culture. Maybe sentients are a delicacy, so that's a potential threat, but otherwise we'd be more valuable as we are — producing art, literature and so on. Then they can point at the monkeys and laugh.

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 5, Interesting) 246

Aliens that are advanced enough to signal us with that kind of power aren't going to find us advanced enough to be worth talking to if they can even understand our primitive methods of communication at all.

Sometimes we make noises that will attract animals so that we can study them.

Comment Re:Next Phase (Score 1) 585

The speed is less important than energy delivered at site of impact. [...] Fan rotors move slower, but are more massive, and have more total energy behind them. You dont need something to be sharp or fast moving to cut you in half; it just needs to exert enough energy over a small area to cause mechanical shear of your body.

Okay, let's try to stay on topic.

Getting a loop of wire from a wench wrapped around a leg and slowly slooped up will chop it off just as surely as if the wire was moving fast but at less torque.

Unless the wire catches on a bone, and the wire is thin enough to snap there. But let's fucking stay on topic. We don't need ridiculous examples designed to distract people because they contain an injury to discuss the topic at hand, you sensationalist nutter.

In fact, there are multiple factors involved in determining how much force it's going to require to break the silly string, and in how much force is being delivered. One of the factors is the force applied, one of the factors is the time in which the force is applied and how that affects the material in question, one of the factors is the quantity of material the force is being spread out across. And in spite of being a lot smaller and less massive, the tip of a quadcopter blade is going to impart a lot more energy to a much smaller section of silly string than a metal fan blade is, because the fan blade is squared off (being stamped from a piece of metal) while the tip of a rotor is very sharp, and the rotor is moving much much faster and F=MA. There's a lot more A in the quadcopter system. But wait, there's more; you only have to consider the effect of its mass until the string breaks. If the string breaks at a level of force which can be achieved with the current acceleration at lower than the actual mass, then the additional mass of the rotor is irrelevant here.

There are lots of other factors, but these are the ones that we've been talking about in this discussion already.

To be a proper experiment, it needs to be a high speed metal bladed fan, with big heavy blades. I can probably find one if I look hard enough.

Only the speed is likely to be relevant, and it will still have a dramatically lower tip velocity than a quadcopter doing anything but hovering.

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