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Comment Re:I really don't understand this drone applicatio (Score 3, Insightful) 43

My believe is that they intend to fly hundreds of these. If you have 100 tethers from 0 to 60,000 ft or so, I believe that you would have many aircraft accidents. Recall that the British used tethered balloons to protect themselves from German air raids. There is no way that you could see those tethers while flying, until you were very close to them -- then it would be too late to avoid.

There are a dozen or so tethered balloons around the border of the US now, so far there have been no incidents that I know of -- but the border is a place where pilots are very observant. Also, the balloons are only at about 10,000 ft or so, so most planes are far higher.

Comment Re:That doesn't work because... (Score 1) 159

You can't change the angle at which the scene is rendered by interpolating between frames.

It's not the raw framerate. It's that the scene your viewing has to match where you're looking that quickly or you get motion sick.

While the parent is Anonymous coward, please rate him up, as that is correct.

Comment This is why Zuckerberg is covering all earth (Score 1) 202

Facebook is either going to fly a few thousand WiFi drones or thousands of WiFi satellites to cover the entire planet. Why would they be doing that?

While I think that Pirate Bay guys suck hard (I spent my life creating content that they pirated), I don't think in this particular case he's wrong.

Comment Re:This guy couldn't be more wrong (Score 1) 630

OTEC has been "coming" forever, I went to a presentation that reads astonishingly like that Wikipedia article 40 years ago when I started college. The mechanisms were the same, the idea of using the energy to generate chemicals rather than send electricity through long cables was the same (back then they were suggested ammonia rather than hydrogen, but that's in the Wikipedia article too.)

Curious that the efficiency could be up to 6% -- now, granted, we're not using that temperature difference at all now, but still -- 6%? Solar panels can be up to 30% or more now.

If we were going to use OTEC for hydrogen to power, say, 10% of the cars in the world -- wouldn't we need tens of thousands of plants, each costing millions of dollars?

Comment Re:Banking in Space (Score 1) 131

If nothing is holding them up (ie in free fall if they turn off their engines) then the proper bank would be at 90 degrees, not some smaller angle. Also (more importantly) the engines need to fire exactly outward from the turn (basically it will make a circle around some point the engines are pointing toward and cannot do anything else).

Best design for a ship would have the engine firing straight down when the humans are in a comfortable position. A highly maneuverable ship would fly "sideways" during maneuvers, the engine firing crosswise to maximize it's ability to change direction as it approaches an enemy. It would only fly parallel to the engine when accelerating. And it would have to spend an equal amount of time decelerating, and that is what it would likely be doing when approaching an enemy. This also points the engine at the enemy, and considering how fast the exhaust must be (seeing as these ships seem to contain very little reaction mass) that engine is much more powerful and destructive than any other weapon they have.

Comment Re: Only One Question (Score 1) 222

Ding ding ding! Somebody has actually identified the reason you cannot migrate from 2 to 3.

In 2 you can read arbitrary bytes into a string without throwing an exception. Only if you try to convert to a Unicode string would an exception be thrown, and you can do lots of stuff with strings without converting them to Unicode (such as read and write the to files and examine the bytes).

In 3 reading into a string can throw an exception if the stream of bytes has an encoding error. The "solution" is that you have to read into a bytes array. But almost certainly what you want to do with the data is pass it to another function that takes a string, and that will throw the exception (either for the wrong data type or because it tried to convert the bytes to a string). You have to rewrite every single function you will call to take a bytes array, rewriting every single thing they call, etc. This is not possible for any reasonable sized software project. It also is really annoying in that 99.99% of the time the data is a "string" in that it is valid UTF-8, and you have thrown away any easy methods of looking at them or comparing them to quoted string constants.

The "string" should have remained a byte array so it could be used for arbitrary bytes, and indexing returns the bytes. "decoding" to Unicode should have been done with iterators, which have the advantage that you can choose the iterator to handle errors in different ways, and to do Unicode normalization if wanted. The "unicode" strings (which are arrays of 16 or 32-bit items) could remain for back-compatibility but deprecated.

Something about Unicode turns otherwise intelligent people into idiot savants, where they will figure out obscenely complex "solutions" for a problem (encoding errors) that should be no more difficult than figuring out how to make your word processor not crash on misspelled words.

Comment I had a similar incident in my Cessna (Score 2) 120

I was flying along the coast, just south of San Francisco, when a small dot caught my eye. Flying is typically 99% boring and 1% terrifying -- this was the 1% that day -- I thought it was another plane headed right for me.

About a second later, it was clear that it was a small balloon, and I flew right past it. Just for fun, I entered a 360 degree turn to see it again -- the fun part was that as I came around it was still caught in the vortex from my wing, and was spinning madly! I was surprised, as it probably took well over a minute to make the turn; I didn't realize that even 1,500 lb Cessnas would generate vortices with that much endurance. I treated big jets with a lot more respect after that.

Comment Re:Failed at basic math. (Score 1) 368

Actually, the last 6 months were the hottest of those six months on record. And not by a little bit -- recent 'record heat' has been tenths of a degree hotter, now it's like a whole degree hotter. Not just hotter than average, the hottest ever. April will certainly be the next one. Sorry Charcharodon -- you're just wrong.

Comment Re:what Trump is, and isn't (Score 1) 296

No fan of Trump, but he certainly is not doing "what is profitable for himself". As a business decision running for president is a really stupid idea so he is obviously not making decisions based on what makes him the most money.

He does want to feed his ego, which is going to be a lot less predictable than "what makes Trump the most money".

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