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Comment Deep Space? Shielding is #1 problem (Score 3, Interesting) 120

Humans in deep space for any length of time will need serious shielding to avoid the health risks of ionizing radiation (gamma rays, etc). Traditional shielding is heavy and crowds out payload. Without a breakthrough in shielding manned space flight can't leave our planet's protection (the magnetosphere) for any length of time. No moon base - at least on the surface, no Mars missions, no Lagrange point space stations.

Comment Re:"Advanced battery technology" is a flashlight b (Score 1) 209

Tesla's system is like a two level RAID array for batteries. The car can work around weak cells and failing modules with software and targeted replacement (a RAID6+ of modules employing RAID6+ with the cells). One monolithic battery or even a small number of them would not have the same flexibility or replacebility. Also Tesla's business goals would have them buying a vast fraction of the battery production in short order. It made sense to start with the most widely manufactured 18650 cell. Now that they are building their own factory I imagine you'll see custom packs perfectly suited to their needs.

Lots of projects on Endless-Sphere are now using pouch cells. They have more kwh per unit (~20 Ahr vs 2.2-3Ahr), stack densely and employ tabs that make it easy to connect them in parallel or series.

Comment Re:Very cool, dangerous, but necessary to learn mo (Score 3, Interesting) 58

That's the biggest issue with implants. They seem to cause harm to the adjacent tissue and eventually stop working. We need "softer" implants that last a long time themselves and let the tissue they are connected to last for a long time also. It seems to me that grids of needles are a dead-end for long term viability.

Submission + - Web based virtual keyboard for linux media box?

Big_Breaker writes: I want to point my tablet or phone web browser at a web page on my rpi kodi box that hosts a virtual keyboard. I don't want the keyboard on the TV, just on my ipad/iphone. Basically I type on this virtual keyboard on my tablet and the keypresses happen just as if I typed them on a bog standard local keyboard. I have found IOS / Android apps and on screen virtual keyboards but that's not what I want. Apologies if the answer is obvious. My googling is returning a lot of things that are similar but don't fit the bill, or are so powerful but needing of configuration that I can't determine if they are intended for my use case.

Comment Re:Adding energy to Earth (Score 1) 85

The earth absorbs and sheds massive amounts of (thermal) energy annually. It absolutely dwarfs the heat created by our energy production. Global warming is caused by a by-product of combustion altering the planet's ability to shed heat from sun. The minuscule amount of heat from our coal plants is a drop in the ocean compared to the solar heat trapped by the extra CO2.

Comment Re:Explosions are not that easy (Score 0) 147

Gasoline seems "safe" because the fuel needs to mix with atmospheric oxygen and that slows the energy release, especially if it's in a container.

A capacitor or lithium-ion battery is more akin to a rocket - fuel and oxidizer held in close proximity, or gun powder where they are literally mixed together.

Comment Re: Given the hype around 3D printing ... (Score 1) 101

So print a sacrifical mold and cast the part in aluminum. These are early days... It's not going to change world overnight. But additive manufacture is going to creep up on subtractive. I have a rep rap and it's not so useful, mostly because the i2 design was lousy and the mechatronics are a bit too clockwork. Related - reverse kinetics aren't simple. So what... GE makes turbine blades that are impossible to make via milling or casting. They're top down and enthusiast amateurs do the bottom up. It'll change how we make finished goods in a profound way, just not right away.

Comment Re:What's old is new again. (Score 2) 320

Your last point about the Marine requirements is spot on.

They should have designed an Air Force / Navy only version and gotten that fully operational: software bugs worked out, airframe defects fixed, flight/battle tested etc. The costs of the program would be much lower, so more planes, fewer design compromises, more buyers. By that point (which is several years from now) typically there are airframe optimizations and engine upgrades ready that were not available in the initial design. Take those improvements, apply to a dual seat trainer airframe (so you have enough space) and make your STOVL Marine variant. If weight is still a problem consider dropping stealth. Anti SAM and air superiority are a job for the Air Force.

Instead the tail wagged the dog with Marine variant and now we have a big ol' expensive mess.

Re: CAS - I think it is likely to become a drone mission anyhow. Better to have ordinance on a cheap airframe with no pilot. It doesn't matter if it gets shot down and you can have a larger number of cheaper planes. Software flies to and from the battlefield so fewer remote pilots needed - done.

Comment Re:The problem with neural networks (Score 1) 45

You wouldn't typically use a single neural network from input (LIDAR, video, gyros, accelerometers, etc) to output (steering and pedals)

More typically you'd use different neural networks to tackle steps in the chain. One might identify the borders of the road and the median. Another might pick out cars. Another might project the position of the cars in the future. Each would be easier to test individually. You might also have a "supervisor" that looked for disagreement or inconsistencies between the systems and notify the driver to take over.

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