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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Open sourcing mechanical design?

ZeroGee writes: I'm working on technology transfer mechanisms in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change meetings in December. One member of our team proposed the idea of having "open sourced design" — taking a few key items in carbon-abatement technology, and opening up the design to anyone who wants to tinker with it or produce it. There are obviously many difficult problems to solve (such as inconsistency across design programs such as CATIA or Pro/E), but has anyone ever considered expanding the FOSS model to actual mechanical devices? Could companies profit off servicing these devices if the actual models and drawings were free to everyone, and could hobbyist designers make changes to some components that could increase the overall efficiency of systems such as wind farms (perhaps gearbox modifications), or solar panels (inverters or other balance-of-systems changes)?

Submission + - Researching Crowd-Sourcing Effectiveness

ZeroGee writes: "I'm a student at Harvard Business School doing research on leadership. Companies consistently rated highly for leadership development often use professional evaluations based on interviews or essay-type responses to questions such as, "How did you demonstrate Edge?" as opposed to simple numerical ratings by peers and superiors. We're working on a theory that by using a Slashdot-esque moderation and meta-moderation system, having respondents (1) answer the question, (2) respond to other answers, and then (3) "meta-moderate" the responses, a community of motivated, effective future leaders could emerge without significant professional oversight. To test this crowd-sourcing theory, what's the best platform? A facebook app? A slashcode-based managerial community site? Or something completely different?"

Comment Re:Good idea (Score 2, Insightful) 425

catalytic converters -- protect the environment, cheap, only downside is it lowers power very slightly.

airbags -- cheap, saves lives, downside is possible added injury due to deployment but overall benefit is worth it

seatbelts -- very cheap, saves lives.

automated traffic system -- vastly increases costs, reduces traffic congestion, reduces traffic fatalities only if the system is perfect and the mechanical parts never fail. What if you blow a tire? The car behind you might still plow into you, only now instead of at 70 mph it's plowing into you at 150 mph. What if the actual auto-drive system fails? Maybe you swerve into oncoming traffic. This is just hardware failure. What if you get hacked / get a "virus"?

In actuality, I didn't mean to imply the ACLU is a means to stifle innovation, but rather there is a legitimate argument to be made that such a system does discriminate against the lower classes. That IS a battle the ACLU would fight.

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