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Comment Re:Space Pen (Score 5, Insightful) 712

be warned, SpacePen ink never actually dries. It can impress on adjacent pages if pressed tightly or if you write double sided. It will easily smudge as well.
I've found that it will also form blobs on the end of the pen reasonably frequently.

That said, I still use a SpacePen half of the time. relatively bulletproof and reliable.

By preference, I use a fountain pen. With practice, I could write maths notes down to 2mm letter size for "you can bring a sheet of notes" style exams.
I realise it's not for everyone.

Comment epic project idea (Score 1) 274

sounds like a fun project!

I'd advise you to hang around with some pilots/take some flying lessons/study the Basic Aeronautical Knowledge coursework. Mountain flying is a lot of fun but fraught with peril. Being remotely linked to the drone, it will be much harder to control and VERY challenging for it to be autonomous. Turbulence, mountain waves, wind shear... The wind behaves ~VERY~ differently when mountains are involved. I'm certified for low-level flying in a fixed-wing including mountainous terrain (in Western Australia... not that we have real mountains...) and can't stress the flying skills that you will need.
This is assuming you're already up to speed on how day-to-day weather would impact your drone's safety and performance.

There's a lot of posts on the technical issues of telemetry and autonomy, I won't go into that.

This sounds like an AWESOME project and I'm envious that you have the time investigate it and possibly start work on it. I wish you all the best.

But seriously, talk to someone at the local flying club/search&rescue/police pilot/military pilot.
Ideally, find someone who's flown through the area in a fixed-wing in weather that is similar to when you would want to use this drone.
Maybe leave out that you're planning on building a drone until you get the idea that they would be interested. You're simply a dude who wants to learn to fly around the mountains where you live. At least you'll get an honest answer of how hard it will be to keep it from cruising into a mountain side IF you were inside of it.

I really hope to read about this on in a few months time.

in the mean time, maybe some solar-charged cameras + transmitters with a good view of the areas would be easier?

Pilot, E.Eng

Comment Re:a better question (Score 1) 706

Does everyone realise that you are talking about the kids for whom every days is a struggle.

crack vials in the school-yard, domestic violence, abuse and barely getting the essentials.
a "bright glistening future" means bugger-all if you are starving (physically, emotionally, mentally).

spend some time in a public paediatric ED, or do some underprivileged mentoring. Understand the stressors that these kids have to deal with.
Offer them the concept of a work-reward that will help them cope for the WEEK, see the results. Talking about "years later" simply has no concept for them.

Comment Re:a better question - long rant (Score 1) 706


so, children are meant to "learn for the joy of learning"?
are you on drugs? are they good drugs? they sound good..
oh, or are the children you speak of on drugs? that would explain a lot. A couple of grand a year for Ritalin, instead of a couple of tens or hundreds in incentives makes a LOT of sense.

I had no motivation in school. I did ok at the classes I liked, failed the ones I didn't. I ended out dropping out 18 months before graduation.
I got myself into college out of a motivation to never have another menial job. I got into medicine out of desire to no never again work as an engineer (and, hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time).
I now have 5 tertiary qualifications and am a medical doctor. If I have any say in the matter, I'll never leave university (getting PAID to LEARN!!! HELL YEAH!!!)
If you had told me this 15 years ago, I would probably have either tried to stab you in the throat or said "that sounds like a good future.. I hate it here".

Children are the ultimate pragmatists. they also have the most profound sense of "fairness".
they get bullied at school, punished by teachers who are burned-out, their parents work 70 hour weeks, they never seen their parents and said parents never seem to care unless they screw-up. You expect them to LIKE it? to work without tangible goals? you want them to suffer through all of this with NO rewards? in all honesty, WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM? the only time they get attention is if they are bad and ignored if they are good.
You are essentially punishing and imprisoning them WITH NO COMPENSATION! let them draw the parallels between reading books/behaving/going to school and getting the money for a new bike or computer game, HELL.. YOU SHOULD ENCOURAGE IT!!! Then drop the bombshell on them: "This has just been a game. If you do the same thing as an adult, you could be a DOCTOR, or an ASTRONAUT, or EARN AND BUY ANYTHING YOU WANT!!"
Think of it like this: they draw the line between effort and reward. They do work and get money.. just MAYBE they will get the idea that working hard = one day owning two mercedes and a mansion..
If you went back and had to endure what your kids do every day, you WOULD kill someone. YOU ARE NOT AS TOUGH OR RESILIENT AS YOUR KIDS, you simply don't comprehend the stressors that keep them in a perpetual state of panic. Yet you expect them to do it "because they must", nay.. "because they must WANT to"... wow, you must have some AWESOME drugs...

Parents want to "invest in their future", but have no interest past throwing money ("time" is too precious to give to a kid). The time:money exchange rate has been getting worse. Now they're getting choosy about what happens to the money... WTF..
Suggest that parents should not beat their kid, should spend more time with them, PRETEND to take an interest, play sport with them rather than dump them in-front of the TV... I've been yelled at to "stop trying to tell me how to raise my kid" and "I can't do that, I'm too busy", like a first-time parent (or even a 10th-time parent) is some kind of expert... just because you successfully put Rod P in Slot V without using a gasket doesn't make you an expert, it does not give you some kind of intrinsic knowledge.. it makes you a learner like the rest of us.
Emotional intuition does NOT trump years of experience, success and failure. Emotional intuition does NOT trump scientific rigour and quantified results. Just because you feel "it is a profound truth, I feel it deep in my soul" does not make you RIGHT, it makes you IGNORANT AND BLIND when someone challenges your preconceptions. Maybe that scientist/teacher/nurse/doctor/shrink/cop/judge/prison-warden/cell-mate-butch-who-thinks-you-have-a-purty-mouth DOES know better "how to raise your damn kid"
An emotional investment simply gives you another avenue to try and best help your kids through the trauma that is 12 years of unrewarding, institutionalising, hard labour.

Two final remarks:
1. If you reward them if they are good and punish them when they are bad, you do not teach them to be good. You merely teach them to be pragmatic. HOWEVER, training them in personal integrity and intellectual discipline will give them the tools and the ability to CHOSE to continue this behaviour. The rewards/payments/"bribes"/whatever might stop, but they will no longer be satisfied with a half-ass job or sloppy results. Just ~maybe~ you will give them a taste for success.
Isn't this how almost every other aspect of parenting is applied today? hell, how almost all of SOCIETY is constructed?

2. It is easier to use a stick to enforce conformity for a day, than to motivate for a week, than to inspire for a month.
Belt your kid around every time they get less than a C on their final yearly report, give them $1 for every hour of effective study or every sheet of maths problems they complete, or spend 2 hours every night plus a day every weekend to help them with their school work while coaching and inspiring them to learn and succeed. YOUR CALL, you decided that your time is too valuable to entrust to a child.

In the end, you will only get the child you deserve.

Comment Also a med student (somewhat more cynical) (Score 1) 215

dude, it's a script writing service :p anything more and would get sued into the stone-age.
looking at the how health operates in the US, they're giving the razor for free and charging for the blades. $45 for a con-sult and here's the repeats on 50 different drugs. You know who's pockets are going to be padded from this.

The sad thing is that they'll be going after the people that can't afford to see a "real-doctor" and will simply be promoting pill-popping.
A couple of GOMERs will get killed by some kid straight out of internship using this system, there'll be lawsuits, crying, hugging. Maybe some kind of new oversight or regulations and a bunch of executives will go for a swim in their money bin.

what can you say? it's not as though the "real" medical system in the US can handle the steaming-masses..

Comment Slinky Plan B). (Score 2, Interesting) 783

pft.. I swapped from Physics and IT consulting to medicine..
actually, kinda fell into it.. ~plenty~ of scholarships and funding if you know where to look.
you can do it in 4yrs post-grad. It requires a whole new level of "knowledge density", though the average IT guy has the endurance to put the hours in.

tie in a ~little~ maths, ability to program and medicine... SOOOOO MANY offers for research...
seriously, the offers out there are... astounding. I've only got a Diploma in Electronic Eng, and get offers

In .au you can work 2 half days a week (assisting in surgery, locum, whatever) earn enough to cover living and hobbies..
three mates did that to fund a biotech startup.

plan B). hotties at med conferences. She's a doctor = kept man. she's even keen for me to stay in uni to do a PhD :D

I can't emphasise how exciting and fun med is to study. it's hard work, but just comes down to hours of the day :)

Comment Proof of the "Education business" in Australia (Score 1) 1259

I'm in my 3rd degree (Medicine), the Australian system works with government sponsored places (for most students) as well as "full fee paying" places.
As a medical student, which is about the most expensive degree you can study, I accrue about $3500 of debt per semester. This amount is the "contribution" I have to make to my tuition costs. Each year, it's probably about ~$8000-9000 when you include some books and equipment, if I was to pay it all up-front.
By comparison, an international student prices are currently $41,000 per annum. All values in $AUD and don't include living expenses.

To highlight some of the above comments about "price matching what the market will tolerate", there has been uproar down here over the past few years about the increases in the proportion of "Full Fee Paying" places.
In the past over 90% of student places were government sponsored in almost any degree, you had to pay a contribution that was accued as debt. This has since swung closer to the centre, there is money to be had and the institutions want it. There has been a remarkable increase in international student numbers, decrease in places for locals... essentially it's all following the money.

As quirky side note.. WA had it's first private univerisity open about 10 years ago.. an ex-girlfriend went there for a while.
While she was there, she didn't get a government sponsored place.. yet their fees were only a little higher than at any of the public uni's (maybe $12,000 per year?). I'm not sure if they had government backing but not the loan system... but it's interesting none the less. Some of the private university's in Australia are EXTORTIONATE (up to $50k per semester), but others have shown that the bottom line cost can be fair.

Regardless, it astounds me how much money each student brings in.. multiplied the number of bums in seats in the average lecture, divided by the number of staff (my sister is an full-time academic, I earn more in my part-time job).. even counting the number of new buildings, programs and research.. there is a LOT of money making it's way into the tertiary system.

Lecutre: A stadium of stuffed wallets, all staring at one dude who is talking for a minimum wage.

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