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Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 1) 376

It's not "gun controllers bringing it up", it's manufacturers working on them. What do you have against manufacturers developing new products?

I have absolutely nothing against manufacturers developing new gun safety products and offering them on the market. The concern with these "smart" guns is that they'll be mandated by law. This has already happened in New Jersey. The 2002 Childproof Handgun Law says that three years after "smart" guns are available for sale in the US, all guns for sale in New Jersey must be "smart". The law doesn't require that the guns be in any way reliable or have obtained any significant market share, just that they've been available for sale. So if these actually make it to market people in NJ who want reliable guns are screwed. And if any other states, or Congress, passes a similar law, then all of us are screwed.

Actually, I'd have no problem with smart guns if they were really reliable. And there's a really simple reliability screening test we can use: offer them to military and law enforcement personnel. Cops in particular should see a lot of value in smart guns because cops occasionally get shot with their own guns. However, they also need their guns to be extremely reliable, and big departments and the FBI have the institutional resources and motivation to seriously test them. So, once the technology reaches a level where police are not only willing to use smart guns but actively want them then it's fine to mandate them for civilians.

Of course, thanks to the NJ law, civilians are going to fight like hell to keep these things off the shelves, which means that the years of refinement needed to make them reliable is never going to happen. Not in the US, anyway.

Comment Re:Why does the ESA have a worse record of landing (Score 1) 76

I appreciate the explanation, but isn't it more that the new system was added in rush (to replace the old ones) as opposed to it being the first time used? It seems like the NASA successes were first time uses of those landing systems also, from what I remember.

Also, I really don't understand how IP applies since these are not products for commercial sale nor used for commercial purposes. I don't see where NASA could even bring a suit.

Comment Not Practical (Score 1) 124

You can't just handwave away the massive cost of proving a charger per parking space, nor even the cost of an outlet per parking space along with the electrical lines buried capable of having every single parking space drawing enough current to charge...

Even if that were practical what exactly do you imagine will happen to someone's personal charging cables or equipment left unattended overnight. Thieves are taking copper pipe out of buildings with the water still on...

Comment 3D first, self-flying much easier (Score 1) 55

Great. Let me know when it's bulletproof in a 2D environment and I'll consider the 3D version.

That's actually backwards. Solving for the 3D case is vastly simpler, because while in the air you have very few obstacles to content with, you basically just have to be sure you can react to other planes, and have programmed in the coordinates of no-fly zones - otherwise travel is just a straight line. There are already drones that can find their way back home if the control signal is lost, and almost drones that can fly around tree branches without hitting them...

For takeoff landing you can simply dictate that a solid volume of sufficient space must be below or above you to land/takeoff.

Comment It can be solved - the solution is Hydrogen (Score 1) 124

I've noticed that also in the past when traveling and staying with friends in Europe.

That's why I still think the future for most electric cars will end up being hydrogen, not battery power - though with advancements like these battery may be a higher percentage, especially if you could go somewhere just one day a week to spend a half hour charging.

Comment Normal is not what you think (Score 1) 124

Long charging times are for most people only a problem on vacation. Normally people commute much shorter distances than the maximum modern electric cars can drive and can charge their cars at night.

I love how you say "normally" when the vast number of people who have cars live in apartments where it may not be "normal" to have a plug anywhere near the car at night.

Is your goal to have electric cars for only the elite? Or for EVERYONE? If electric cars are to break out of a tiny niche for the rich they have to work for people who do not own homes.

Comment That would be the real game changer (Score 1) 124

Non-electric cars are simply more practical for most people not just because of range, but also charging time. Even Tesla Supercharger stations take way too long for most people to tolerate.

But if you have 1000 miles of range, suddenly it's much more practical to live with a very long charging time because you can wait a day or two to find a good charging solution - plus it would mean you could get somewhere faster than with a gas vehicle since you wouldn't have to stop on a long trip to fill up.

We'll see if the tech actually materializes in real life, but I really hope it does.

Comment Why does the ESA have a worse record of landing? (Score 2) 76

First of all, I don't see much mention that they still have a new satellite in orbit around Mars so the mission is at least partly successful.

But with a string of failures to land on Mars from the ESA, and a string of successes from NASA you have to start to wonder - what is it that is lacking in the ESA program that is not able to get landings right? Is it just different approaches to the problems of landing that are not panning out over a few attempts? Is it some kind of engineering process failure that they just are not accounting for some possibilities? I was wondering if anyone had any insight.

I wish the ESA the best of luck and really want to se them succeed, as the more craft studying mars the better (though they are all a handful of beans in comparison to the first human to land and study there).

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