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Comment an airline pilot also calls bullshit (via Slate) (Score 5, Informative) 423


"Lastly, we're hearing murmurs already about the fact that Asiana Airlines hails from Korea, a country with a checkered past when it comes to air safety. Let's nip this storyline in the bud. In the 1980s and 1990s, that country's largest carrier, Korean Air, suffered a spate of fatal accidents, culminating with the crash of Flight 801 in Guam in 1997. The airline was faulted for poor training standards and a rigid, authoritarian cockpit culture. The carrier was ostracized by many in the global aviation community, including its airline code-share partners. But Korean aviation is very different today, following a systemic and very expensive overhaul of the nation’s civil aviation system. A 2008 assessment by ICAO, the civil aviation branch of the United Nations, ranked Korea's aviation safety standards, including its pilot training standards, as nothing less than the highest in the world, beating out more than 100other countries. As they should be, Koreans are immensely proud of this turnaround, and Asiana Airlines, the nation's No. 2 carrier, had maintained an impeccable record of both customer satisfaction and safety."

Comment Lawrence Livermore presentation from PDC 2013 (Score 3, Informative) 311

Last month, the annual Planetary Defense Conference took place, this time in Flagstaff, Arizona (down the road from Meteor Crater). If you are interested in this topic, you really should take a look at the incredible video archive which has ALL of the presentations -- like 23 hours of them. Seriously, if you really want to dive deep into this subject, imagine me GRABBING YOUR SHOULDERS AND SHAKING YOU and saying loudly right into your face "watch these videos!"

Here is the conference webpage:


And here is the program, useful for navigating the video archive below:


But you really want to go to the videos. Here is the complete archive:


Particularly germane to the discussion here, check out this video which includes two presentations:


At the 1h21m point:
Overview of Collisional-Threat Mitigation Activities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Paul Miller
(very dry delivery, but very interesting review of nuclear weapon solutions)

At the 1h42m40s point:
GPU Accelerated 3-D Modeling and Simulation of a Blended Kinetic Impact and Nuclear Subsurface Explosion
Brian Kaplinger
(new PhD, on the same team as Dr. Wie, the author mention in the post that leads this thread).

These guys have thought about these problems far harder than you have. You might benefit from listening to them for 20 minutes.

Or, you know, just skip this and resume your underinformed opinionating :)

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 266

Of course they've done that. They've done it all.

The fact that you even think you need to research it is a sad commentary on the real situation. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the secondary effects are all settled science, and the only reason there appears to be a debate is that those who are profiting from the status quo have colossal megaphones. Funding of denier scientists, astroturfing letters to the editor, et cetera. All they have to do is sow doubt. Congratulations.

Sadly, we have been utterly screwed since we failed to ratify Kyoto 20 years ago.

Comment OAM vs circular polarization? (Score 1) 142

I work in satellite communications, where circular polarization (e.g. LHCP and RHCP) is common, especially in some C-band links. Can someone explain to me how OAM is different from CP? Because it sure sounds like CP to me.

And if they're modulating the data onto the phase, wouldn't that simply be phase shift keying?

I read a short IEEE Spectrum article about this just yesterday, and I'm still puzzled. Tech writers tackling this subject would be well advised to mention CP in their writing and explain how this differs.

Comment Re:It was great... once upon a time. (Score 1) 342

I'm also an OS/2 refugee, ran it for six years or so as my primary OS. There were some frustrations, sure, but it was much more stable than anything else available at the time. And the apps seemed to be higher quality. To this day I still use PMView, an image viewing/processing program that had its roots in OS/2, and yes I pay money for it. I WISH I could still be using PMMail -- that email program was so beautifully done, everything working the way it should. Every time my Thunderbird install doesn't handle justification right, I pine for the days of PMMail and OS/2 (which means every day).

AntEater, you should check the link in my sig. Your misuse of its vs it's is distracting to the reader. I know that techies think grammar doesn't matter, but your smartest readers see that mistake as a cognitive speedbump.

Comment link to 60 Minutes piece (Score 1) 84

Here's the 60 Minutes piece that everybody's mentioning but not linking to:


The seven-crew version of Dragon can be seen briefly in it. I believe it was the scene where Garrett Reisman was getting out of it. In a side note, it's too bad there wasn't more of Garrett, he's a real card.

Comment more complete comments from Alexei Krasnov (Score 4, Informative) 66

Alexei Krasnov, chief of piloted programs:

"The malfunction was found in the service elements of the descent capsule....but no decision was taken to delay a forthcoming launch.

Krasnov acknowledged that several days ago some problems really emerged....but the problems are related to a service element, rather than the descent capsule,

Krasnov did not rule out that “the schedule of piloted missions will be revised,” but he sees no tragedy in this. “There are program reserves to deal with the emerged problem,” he underlined.

“It is very good that upon the results of the tests we received critical remarks before the spaceship was brought to the Baikonur spaceport, because we have some time and possibilities to examine everything in detail,” Krasnov concluded.


Comment Re:I still don't want one (Score 4, Interesting) 200

I've been doing some research.

Might want to try a little harder.

The Volt was only tested in -10 weather in Canada, not the -20C to -40C we get in Saskatchewan. As battery efficiency drops dramatically in the cold, I have my doubts about it's electric range capabilities here.

The Volt functions down to -13 F / -25 C cold. That's the COLD SOAK temperature of the battery. If the battery pack is colder than that, then the gas engine will fire up to generate electricity to warm up the battery above that temperature threshold. Note that I didn't say ambient temperature; we're talking about the temperature deep inside the car, inside a 400 pound battery pack. It takes a long time at a given ambient temperature to get the battery pack itself down to that temperature. Does your weather stay at or below -13 F / -25 C for 24 hours at a time? If so then I agree the Volt isn't for you, but it's great for the rest of us.

And once you switch over to gas power, the Volt gets atrocious mileage compared to many other similarly sized cars

37 MPG is pretty damn good by nearly any standard. "Atrocious"? Don't be such a drama queen.

the Ford I'm looking at sells for literally half the price of the Volt. $20,000 buys a HELL of a lot of gasoline.

Make sure you're doing a fair comparison. The Ford you are comparing to (you don't say which) likely will have it's doors blown in by the Volt's performance. Further, the Volt is likely more luxuriously appointed than whatever econo penalty box you are comparing with.

For lots and lots of current Volt owners, their previous car was a luxury sports sedan. Mine was an Audi.

Comment Re:doesn't require big oil (Score 4, Interesting) 200

... the gasoline engine will come on to help run the car in various situations, depending on what mode it's in. Like going up a steep hill at more than 40mph(!).

Wrong, wrong, wrong. 10-Oct-10 will live in infamy in the annals of the Volt because it's the day that people like the parent of this post misread GM's very interesting disclosure about the Volt powertrain to mean "the engine comes on at high speeds".


"Full performance" means it can go ANY SPEED and MAX ACCELERATION under only electric propulsion. Over and over, lazy bloggers (and blog comment posters) have misread articles about the transmission to conclude that the engine comes on at high speeds or high acceleration. IT'S NOT A PRIUS. I have countless jackrabbit starts and high speed runs in my Volt to demonstrate it is most definitely not a Prius. I'm with Dan Akerson on this -- I wouldn't be caught dead in a Prius :)

Read the actual article more closely. It's a complicated car, with amazing results.

Comment Re:Wait so we are adding more weight. (Score 5, Informative) 200

So your solution to protecting the batteries are adding heavy Steel plates to the car. Which in turn adds more weight and gives less mileage. We can't find a metal that is lighter and stronger?

They've said the additional bracket (it's a stretch to call it "steel plates" has it's not exactly armor) weighs about 3-4 pounds and will have no noticeable effect on efficiency.

Photo of the bracket is here:

From this excellent overview of the actual "fixes" that GM will be doing to customers that CHOOSE to bring their Volt in for it:

Also, you might want to google "Volt high strength steel". The car has some of the highest structural rigidity in the industry. Yet another way in which the Volt is demonstrating a big leap forward in automotive technology.

Comment Re:Well, this is going to piss off the Republicans (Score 3, Interesting) 200

"no real benefit other than being able to run for short distances at low speeds on the battery"

Low speeds, huh? I wish I'd known that when I was blasting down the highway earlier this evening in my Volt, purely electric. Top speed: 101 MPH*

Please mod parent down, just more of the usual misinformed opinio-crap. And if you have mod points, please look for other garbage posts like this and mod them down too. Wish I had some mod points today.

In the meantime, chew on this: http://wardsauto.com/commentary/why-innovation-dying-america

* I didn't go that fast, I stayed down at a safe speed. 101 MPH is the published top speed of the Volt, regardless of which mode it's in.

Comment Toyota called AGAIN (Score 2) 229

... to let you know that you're playing fast and loose with differing types of braking systems. Flywheel-based KERS, electric motor+battery regen braking, different things that are the same "in principle" only if your principle is "slow down with some mechanism besides direct generation of heat".

Further, nobody is bothering to read the article, is just taking the summary here at face value. But that's par for the course here. Nevermind.

Comment Really, again? Ignore this story. (Score 1) 572

Jesus Christ, here we go again. The International Space Station only has officially support from the entire international community through 2020. We JUST came to an agreement for the 10-year run from 2010 to 2020. As we get closer to the 2020 date, you can be sure that they will work to extend those agreements. This really is a non-story, but that doesn't stop breathless reporting like this from popping up every 6 months. Somebody else in this thread probably explained this better than I have time to, and if so please mod them up, or if no such other post then please mod me up :) And please mod down all the other yahoos kicking and screaming about the deorbiting. Worry not, it ain't happening.

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