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Comment Re:There's nothing to change (Score 5, Informative) 266

Please explain why a 747 from 1969 flies with the same engines and fuel, and takes the same time to fly the same distance at the same altitude as today?

Just about everything in that sentence is wrong.

A 747 from 1969 doesn't have the same engines as a modern 747, nor does it take the same time to fly the same distance. A 747-100 had a maximum range of 4500 NM, a top speed of mach .8 and burned fuel at an average rate of 15 970 kg / hr. The 747-400 which is currently in service has a base range of 6400 NM (and up to 8000 NM for the 747-ER, nearly double!), burns about half as much fuel per hour, and cruises at about mach .85. And the 747-400 was first introduced 30 years ago! I don't have the stats for the newest iteration, the 747-8i, but Boeing claims it will be "be 30% quieter, 16% more fuel-efficient, and have 13% lower seat-mile costs with nearly the same cost per trip" than the 400.

And that's without going into the increases in capacity, passenger comfort, and avionics that have happened in the past 50 years. This is just minor advancements on an old airframe; the biggest applications of advancements in materials science and aircraft design are for clean-sheet designs like the 787 or new military aircraft like drones.

The point of this article, though, is that the military-industrial complex's days of cozy, no-bid contracts and inflated vehicle costs are quickly coming to an end, not that we'll never be able to design better aircraft than Kelly Johnson's team did in the 1950s.

Comment The different layouts are kind of the point (Score 1) 393

Telephones and calculators (well, adding machines) have opposite layouts for a reason: slowing down the key presses on your phone. Try dialing a long number (like an account number) into automated phone tree on a phone quickly: a good cell phone will 'cache' the numbers and send out the DTMF sounds more slowly than your rapid keypresses. On a landline dialing too fast will often result in errors since they usually lack this feature.

You can read more about Bell/Western Electric's development of the telephone keypad here.

Comment Re:Your kidding, right? (Score 2) 585

Yeah, that '59 Bel Air has a the infamous X-frame, which neither particularly resilient nor completely typical of old car design (which is the same as current SUV and pickup design).

The relevant issue that makes something a "death trap" is passenger cabin intrusion.

The Malibu, like all modern cars is designed to prevent cabin intrusion in an accident -- that is, parts of the car are designed so that if they are destroyed in an accident, they will not come into the cabin or damage its structural integrity.

That Bel Air has a solid metal steering wheel, steering column, and tiny narrow roof pillars. This makes the car look beautiful and evoke the classic styling of that era, but it does precisely nothing to protect the passenger cabin or the passengers in an accident. 1959 was the first year that seat belts were even offered as standard equipment on a Chevrolet!

The other thing that many do not realize is that both of those cars are in the same weight class, ~3500 pounds. Much of 1959's weight is in the sheet metal styling cues and chrome and heavy iron-block engine: the smallest engine available was the 3.8 liter 6-cylinder Blueflame (125 hp!). The Malibu, on the other hand, gains much more of its weight from passenger comfort and safety system: not only is the car itself much smaller, and has slighter body panels, but the largest engine, an all aluminum 3.6 liter 6-cylinder LY7 engine produces over a hundred more horsepower (252 hp), and weighs significantly less.

The only deathtraps on the road are the big old cars, and the trucks and SUVs which are patterned off of them mechanically.

Comment Re:Much better anyway (Score 1) 303

Actually, Apple didn't even have a front-end for MySQL, either. They used to advise installing MyPhpAdmin. (bottom of that page) Really this is an advantage because now I won't have 2-3 installs of MySQL on my system anymore -- the default, rarely updated, Apple version, the more up-to-date version installed by Macports in /opt, and perhaps another version in MAMP or XAMPP if I want to test a web app or design a new site in a quasi-sandbox.

Comment Re:Seems just as safe as ever... (Score 1) 1148

You're right, here in the US during the 80s we didn't have to put up with little anemic diesels puttering around in big vans and cabs and such, which I'm sure were an annoyance. But I wouldn't call them dreadful!

At least they weren't horribly-manufactured, minimally-tested, failure-prone diesel disasters like the 80s GM diesels that soured the US market to diesels. They are why, in part, demand for passenger car diesels is so low in the US even today.

Comment Re:Whoopee (Score 3, Insightful) 468

*I don't think GE's a member anymore, but it's impossible to know for certain how much of their revenue came just from NBC-Universal


Page 34 of GE's 2009 earnings report: Revenues, NBC Universal, $15,436,000,000; Segment Profit, NBC Universal, $2,264,000,000.

Yeah, it's impossible to know for certain that NBC-Universal made $2 billion in profit last year. Sony Pictures, by the way, collected ¥705,237,000,000 (~ $8 billion) in revenue for FY 2010, and only ¥42,814,000,000 (~ $519 million) in profit; Sony Pictures includes not only MPAA-relevant stuff but TV shows just like NBC-Universal. That's from SONY's annual earnings report, which is admittedly not the first Google result, but whatever, it wasn't that hard to find. (http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/ar/2010/index.html)

When you consider how little of Sony or GE's total revenues have to do with their movie-making divisions, and how much Google's revenues are based on Internet services supposedly threatened by these letters (practically all of Google's revenue) I think you can easily realize how much more money Google would be willing to spend on a fight than the MPAA. That is, if these angry letters Google received had any real meaning other than to try to scare the individuals who usually receive them.

Comment Re:Get private offices (Score 1) 520

This is not what you asked for, but it is an article summarizing the results of a number of studies (with references) plus the article writer's own personal experience.

Here is a different study that looked at the differences between complex interruptions and simple interruptions during the execution of a complex task. Bear in mind that the "complex task" was nowhere near as complex as various programming tasks can be. They found a complex task interrupted by a simple task generally cost about 4 minutes to get back into the task, and a complex task interrupted by another complex task took close to 8 minutes to get back into the task. An interesting affect they noted, however, was that when a complex task was interrupted by another complex task, when the person went back to the main task they made fewer errors for a time. That was not the case for a simple interruption.

Comment nobody owns words (Score 0, Flamebait) 71

and words shift in meaning all the time. the way they spoke in 1960, 1910, 1860... the meanings of words you use today as they were in 1960, 1910, 1860... its completely fluid and outside of anyone's control

so why do you fucking care so much about a fucking word?

"hacking" has evolved to have different meanings. big fucking deal

for whatever bizarre reason, you have a huge attachment to the meaning of "hacking"

whatever, drama queen. get a life

Comment Re:Background - the National Post (Score 1) 641

Congratulations! You've just committed the well known (though still often used) fallacy known as "Poisoning the Well".

Just because the National Post is a dirt-bag organization (I have no idea if they are or aren't, just making a point) does not have any bearing on the validity of their statements.

It does not mean you can dismiss their statements out of hand, it simply means you need to approach their "facts" with a healthy dose of skepticism. The less trustworthy they are, the bigger your dose. ;)

This same fallacy is often committed on Slashdot with regards to Fox News. In other forums this happens with CNN and MS-NBC or the BBC, or just about any newspaper or news magazine or news organization. Having a bias does not invalidate the arguments at all, and merely claiming that they have a bias does not invalidate any of their arguments either. It is disingenuous to dismiss an argument out of hand for no reason other than the source of the argument.

Comment Re:His lament falls on deaf ears... (Score 1) 385

If I had mod points, I'd have a hard time deciding whether to mod you Funny or Insightful! I agree 100%.

I work on cars sometimes as a hobby, but I'm sure I'd soon come to hate it if I had to do it for a living. It can be fun when you don't care if it's still not running at the end of the day, and you can come back to it tomorrow, or next weekend, or whenever.

But when you HAVE to do it, and QUICKLY, because the user/driver is complaining because they can't work/get to work until you get their email/starter fixed, and there are 10 more frustrated people in line behind them, it can eventually become somewhat of a drag. And you start to REALLY question why software/car companies have to make such simple things so damn much work to fix! (Seriously, though, why do they? I'd think car manufacturers, at least, could save some money on warranty work by designing cars to be more serviceable. Dell IMO does quite a good job with this.)

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