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Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 231

Not so fast.

Passenger air travel is becoming ever more fuel efficient. Airlines are keenly interested in the lowest fuel used per passenger seats, especially the low cost airlines. EasyJet's fleet (a low cost European airline) is almost brand new, same with RyanAir (who are notorious for making everything as cheap as possible). Not only do the airlines want efficient planes, but they want them as full as possible. EasyJet's load factor is 90% for example (meaning on average at least 90% of the seats are filled).

EasyJet's A319-neo aircraft have an average fuel burn (no wind) of about 2L/100km per passenger seat (about 115 mpg (US)). Adjusting with a 90% load factor about 103mpg per passenger flown. This is roughly equivalent to a reasonably efficient mid-size car carrying 3 people (note: most cars most of the time only carry 1 person), but remember the plane is doing 500+ mph while getting this efficiency, whereas the car will only be doing about 60mph to get that efficiency per seat.

A well-loaded electric train can better this of course, but airline travel isn't as absurdly fuel thirsty as you presume - there have been very impressive efficiency gains over time.

Comment Re:No no no. (Score 1) 273

Making PCBs isn't all that hard, nor is soldering SMD. I've soldered 0.4mm pitch LQFP chips to a home made PCB. These days I don't bother making the PCBs since there's lots of places doing low quantity PCBs where I can just send the gerbers off to (and get 4 or 6 layer boards, which you need to be obsessed to make at home). I don't even use specialist tools for SMD soldering - normal soldering iron chisel tip, flux, 0.23mm dia solder, solder wick.

Comment Re: Here's an idea... (Score 2) 260

It varies massively by airport. Going through Houston on a B777 or B787 from London, I get through passport control before my luggage reaches the carousel every time, and that's been consistent for years. Each non-US citizen passenger gets through in generally less than 2 minutes, and there's always many gates open, so even if you're at the back the wait isn't typically all that long.

Dallas Fort Worth on the other hand... I will never use DFW again.

Comment Re:Spaceflight is risky (Score 1) 239

Because it's a test of the whole stack from what I understand. There may (for example) be a destructive resonance that could destroy the rocket in flight which could be detected during an engine test, which only occurs when the payload is installed. You obviously want to find this out now when you can abort a test and find out what's causing the resonance, rather than when the rocket blows up ten seconds after launch.

Comment Re:It was a terrible deal for Britain anyway (Score 3, Informative) 170

"All the problems with wind" is a bit of an overexaggeration. In fact, the video nicely shows how resilient it is. For instance, the first clip is of a wind turbine on fire. Notice how the rest of the wind farm is not on fire. The wind farm would have perhaps lost 2% of its capacity, but it has resilience in numbers.

To start with, yes, I think the UK needs new nuclear capacity - we need *something* that's not coal that is good at doing baseload.

But on the other hand: from the point of view of the National Grid, wind does have certain advantages:

* Each generator is small and there are an awful lot of them. A generator or two going offline doesn't cause sudden capacity problems. However, a large nuclear generating plant going offline suddenly can cause a huge power shortage that can be solved only by shedding load (in other words, blackouts).

* The wind, over a period of the next few hours, is pretty easy to predict. The wind doesn't just suddenly and unexpectedly stop blowing. You can pretty much say the wind will be doing in 10 minutes time what it's doing now, and if it's not going to do that (e.g. due to the passage of a frontal system) you can at least know what it's going to do. Not so with a large powerplant which may suddenly go offline with no warning.

Comment Re:The Naked Truth (Score 1) 1592

I'm afraid that's not exactly true:

- Ireland is also not in Schengen
- The UK converted to metric for trade (Imperial units only used for things that are relatively trivial). In fact there were a series of "Metric Martyrs", traders in the UK who refused to move to metric were prosecuted by the UK authorities, so metrication *was* enforced.
- Gibraltar is not in another country, despite spurious claims from the Spanish government. The Gibraltar people time and time again have said they wish to remain British - but you seem to want to force them to be ruled by the Spanish government (and you go on about "rights"!). The fact it is attached to the bottom of Spain makes it no more a part of Spain any more than Ceuta and Melilla are part of Morocco even though they are physically attached, or Portugal a part of Spain despite sharing the Iberian peninsula.
- The UK isn't the only country that kept its currency. Denmark did too.

Spain should never have adopted the Euro, it has in part ruined your economy, as it has damaged Ireland, Italy, mortally wounded Greece etc.

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