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Comment Re:You're the dumbass (Score 1) 153

Oh and your supporting argument for regulatory capture is batshit insane. "The FAA would require so many ...- heavy parts)" but you claim that's regulatory capture from the airlines that are desperate to reduce weight to improve fuel efficiency.

If I were an airline, I would want this up-start competitor to be saddled with as much weight as possible. Otherwise, they could be competition for me, the airline, which has the FAA in its pocket.

Comment Re:Wrong comparison? (Score 1) 153

In that case, would the lift from the airframe moving forward would be much more than an equivalent helicopter and thus the range would be much better?

... This issue could be somewhat fixed by changing the forward ducted fan assembly into a real canard as in the concept animation, but with all the junk attached it would be a contender for world's least efficient canard wing, and fragile to boot.

Just add plain airfoil canards on the outer ends of the forward nacelles and you will have an aircraft with fully functional canards.

Comment Aerodynamics don't look right (Score 3, Interesting) 153

IAAEngineer. On the Lilium website, the images show the "flight mode" having all of the impellers on the top of the wings, instead of the bottom. They are all sitting on the portion of the wing where aerodynamic lift is generated. There's a wing-surface on top of the nacelles, but the design still looks like it would have negative lift. Anyone who knows how a wing generates lift will understand.

The impellers, necessarily pushing air through faster than the vehicle is traveling, would create a low-pressure zone right in front of them, where flowing air is supposed to be compressed. It's the lower air-pressure over the back of a wing that generates lift. The nacelles are sitting right in the way.

Or does their design position the front-face of the impellers right in that spot. They would have a lower relative air pressure just in front of them, of course. It's hard to tell from the few images the exact positioning, but can an Aeronautical Engineer chime in?

Comment FAA will wreck it. (Score 1) 153

This thing had better fly at less than 500 ft in altitude, to avoid ever entering FAA-controlled airspace & corridors.

The FAA would require so many over-engineered (high engineering margins=heavy parts) and triply redundant systems that it would be too heavy to fly anywhere with controlled airspace (cities), once the FAA got done bulking it up.

FYI, the FAA long ago taken over by regulatory capture from the airline and aircraft industries. The company in the article would probably never be able to get all of the proper approvals because the in-place air-transport players would use the FAA like a bludgeon.

Comment Re:Non-starter 'flying car' (Score 1) 153

This flying car won't fit in my garage, won't travel down the highway (or any road for that matter), won't land at the grocery store and pick up milk.

It only works if you live at an airport and your house backs up to the runway.

Unfortunately, this is going to be like an autonomous taxi. We probably won't be able to get one.

I've come to the conclusion, finally, that few-passenger air transport like this or flying cars must be entirely computer-controlled. Humans are idiots. Plus, the extra weight of a steering console would eat into range. GPS-based point-to-point, with landing pads sprinkled throughout a city, is the only sane way to go. And it's looking more viable with this aircraft.

Comment There's not much out there... (Score 2) 102

I've taught a class on essentially this topic in a senior-level class for a couple of years at a top-10 US University, so I've performed this same search that you are (My day job is Research Faculty). I could find very little. This thread has some nice suggestions that I am definitely going to check out, though.

Looking back now, I can see that in my own learning of the art of science and of R&D, it was all bits and pieces learned from people. Whether in undergrad, grad school, or as a post-doc – it was always the same case. I made a habit of listening to those whom I found competent. Most of the real, kernel-level things that I learned were discrete and small lessons. Sometimes a single observation or suggestion.

I wish I could articulate something useful, but really it was the experience of working with others in science or R&D/engineering that I learned the most valuable lessons. Becoming competent in this skill-set is, as far as I can tell, best achieved by being an understudy – an apprentice. That is actually what graduate school is: an apprenticeship.

I am not saying these things cannot be learned in other ways. If grad school is not an option, then read some of the fine-sounding books listed in-thread. Associate yourself, if you can, with anyone who possesses these skills.

Good luck.

Comment It's useful (Score 4, Insightful) 287

Used responsibly, LSD is a phenomenal tool for introspection and "thinking about things from a higher plane". It's hard to describe to anyone who has not tried.

Remove your consciousness from your life experiences, everyday minutia, your body's senses, and politics/history pegged to a timeline, and so on. Freed from these tethers, incredibly insightful things can be realized for the first time in the mind. After you come down, and you remember the experience, you will never view the world the same-old way again, but will process subsequent life experiences from an additional, fresh, and wholistic view-point. It is a marvelous eye-opener.

Once you've "climbed the mountain" of a strong and positive LSD trip a few times, you will no longer need to take the drug to "get to that place", and to see things in this additional, new light. It is a breathtaking experience and changes your perspective forever. Well, for decades, at the least.

* Pardon the slang and 'short-for' phrasing. I tried to make the point as concise as possible to anyone who hasn't tried it – an impossible task. *

Comment Re:here's the catch (Score 2) 65

I assume the reason for this is Apple makes their money selling storage in the cloud. The more you use those apps, the more storage you need.

There is no requirement to use anything iCloud to use these Apps. You can, if you wish, though.

If you do, the price is in line with other cloud services. $ for 200 GB, for example.

Comment Re:Question for the Physicists. (Score 1) 79

I just don't get something about permanent magnets.

A magnet exerts force, no?

Exerting force requires energy, no?

Where is the energy in a magnet? How is it obtained, stored, replenished?

Magnets have a potential energy relative to a magnetic sample at any distance away, but the attraction falls off steeply, so you have to get close for the attraction to matter.

Once you get close, the magnet's pull will be felt, and the object will be attracted to the magnet. Let it move closer (It's on a string), and potential energy between the pair is reduced. To reverse it, just pull the string, which takes force-over-distance, and so you have invested energy to pull the little sample away. Energy is conserved.

Comment Re:IBM PC (Score 1) 857

Hooray for the IBM PCjr! My father saved-up, and was either going to buy that or a Franklin (Apple IIe clone). PCjr it was.

I learned to program on it by just going through the BASIC or DOS manual, finding new commands, and coming up with some way to use them.

I made a program to play a polyphonic version of Moonlight Sonata, figured out how to use the three (four) display-type buffers to produce a Photoshop-like program that could save, open, and edit files in my own file format. Oh, and a few games and cartoon animations. God I miss that thing.

My mother still has it. It's got a side-car and topper added-on to allow for what I think was 256 KB of memory, a 40 MB hard drive, and a serial interface that I was playing with to create a home-brew iTunes-like jukebox. Then I went off to college, but it's still there back at home. I'll set it up the next time I go.

Comment Re:Interplanetary Darwinism (Score 2) 86

So, let's deliberately put water bears on Saturn to limit the risk to Titan and Enceladus? How can they be so sure that there isn't a layer of Saturn with composition, pressure, and temperature favorable to life?

Aside from it being a gas giant, Saturn's huge gravity well will pull Cassini in hard and fast, vaporizing every little bit of it back into elements and simple compounds (like oxides of the metals). No bugs can survive this plunge.

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