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Comment Re:Spare us. (Score 1) 108

OOP and functional programming, and probably other paradigms/methodologies have something in common: there's a right place and way to use them and wrong places and ways. They are helpful in the right place, but can make Yuuuge messes in the wrong place.

The "art" of programming is often using the right tool for the job: hammers are not "bad", but don't use them to drive in screws. Always remember not to make things hard on future maintainers who may not know about or share your grand code design philosophies.

Comment Re:The problem (Score 1) 151

Quads can't, no variable pitch blades.

And you don't see the solution to that?

It's really simple. Regulators mandate safety standards so that - in real world conditions - you don't have cars constantly falling out of the sky due to failures or running into buildings. Engineers determine the designs to meet those standards. If they can't, they don't get to sell it.

Comment Yeah, you do... but no, we don't. (Score 1) 256

I drive on highways with 55-65 MPH speed limits, just like everyone for the last 50 years, with cars built for those speeds.

From time to time, I drive a 2016 corvette on Montana highways with 80 mph speed limits. It is fair to say that the car loafs along. It was absolutely built for these speeds, and speeds considerably higher. I often reach those higher speeds. [Um. Allegedly. Cough.] Many other models are built with similar capabilities. The highways here are well designed for those speeds. Even many of the secondary roads here are pretty good for them, though not as good.

Methinks you are thinking well inside your own box. Poorly. Which makes me raise my eyebrows at your assertion that you are a physicist. That may be unfair; many people are notably vertical in their strengths. But still, my eyebrows are raised. :)

We can also (if we are honest) observe that progress, and the potential it unleashes in many cases, is not all that closely linked with what's commercially available or common around the time of the fundamental invention. In the first decade after lasers were invented, for instance, there was no significant commercial application. When the integrated circuit was invented, it wasn't much to look at and functionally speaking, for decades, it was outright pitiful compared to ICs today. We're still dealing with developing a full understanding of how neurons do what they do. In laser parlance, in 2017 we are yet pre-laser, and anyone who tries to tell us that lasers can't do X at this point should be considered, at most, a hand-waver in the grips of a fit of profound hubris.

WRT the subject at hand - intelligence and consciousness resulting from information processing - nature has, fortunately enough, provided numerous models at various levels. So we know it can be done at least one way - neural-like systems. Sure, it's obviously not easy. Brains use very small, very complicated, and very difficult to understand computing elements.

But achieving a manufactured intelligence is also obviously highly interesting and to many, highly desirable. Assuming only that our technological progress doesn't actually halt due to some unrelated factor (war, asteroid, runaway climate, alien invasion, etc.), there are many reasons, all supporting one another very, very well, to assume that we will "get there from here." Not the least of which is there are many (sub-)reasons to presume that will be a great deal of economic leverage in such technology.

And, perhaps most relevant to you, there are no known physics related reasons to presume that we won't get there eventually. As you should know very well. If one is (or multiple are) discovered - for instance, should it be determined at some point in the future that brains use some heretofore unknown physics mechanism(s) to do what they do - then we may quite suddenly be on different grounds in terms of ultimate practicality. But there isn't even a hint of this as yet. It definitely appears to be chemistry, electricity, and topology all the way down as far as brains go. That stuff, we can do. Larger and clumsier and perhaps even slower... perhaps even only as emulation... yet we can do it. We just don't know exactly what to do. Yet.

Comment Re:I agree, but not for the same reasons as Musk (Score 1) 151

Congratulations, you have it entirely backwards.

The maximum efficiency of a prop, in newtons per watt, is 1 / (v_wake + v_freestream), where velocity is in meters per second. The faster you're moving (the freestream velocity), the less thrust you get per watt. Which is why large props are more efficient (more air moved at a lower wake speed), particularly at low speeds, and same for high bypass jet engines.

Now, in terms of "energy per 100km" or "miles per unit energy", obviously a hover yields "infinite joules per 100km" and "0 miles per joule", because you're not going anywhere. But that's an entirely different situation than propulsive efficiency. If you want to start factoring in motion, then your cross section / drag coefficient / L:D ratio / altitude (and thus density) and so forth come into play, and the optimum speed comes down to a balance between a wide range of factors - the faster you go, the less time you spend flying, but your drag increases quadratically, and your prop efficiency drops (the rate of drop relative to the difference between the freestream and wake velocities). Airplanes maximize this balancing point by having extremely low drag coefficients (Cd), far less than cars tend to have.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 151

The assumption is that if flying cars were common, there would be vastly more locations. As they basically function like helicopters (in most conceptions - VTOL), they need only something equivalent to a helipad, not an airport. Which is much cheaper and smaller footprint than an airport.

To get to the point of allowing takeoff and landing from, say, a driveway, you'd have to have a long track record of excellent proven safety, and levels of noise reduction that current technology doesn't yet support. It's certainly conceivable in the future, but is anything but a first step for companies working on flying cars today.

I personally view flying cars as pretty much inevitable (although not around the corner) regardless of whether or not they're pursued directly at present. Namely because of delivery drones. Businesses are not going to stop pushing for them because there's such an economic case for them (not having to drive a big truck around city streets, pairing trucks with drones to not have to go down each sidestreet or stop at each location, etc), and they'll advance the technology as needed to get approval - starting small. But economics will continually push them toward making larger and larger models, and the technology to get approval for those. And eventually you'll have models large enough to carry people around, wherein the question will inherently arise, "Why, exactly, aren't they carrying people?"

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 151

So your concept is that something statistically likely to crash and injure people would be approved by regulators, rather than manufacturers being forced to prove reliability in real-world usage conditions before being granted approval?

Comment Re:Really? (Score 0) 151

The assumptions involved in your post:

1) Flying cars would be allowed to just take off and land wherever they want.
2) People would be manually piloting them.

I don't know where you're getting your concept of flying cars, but none of the flying car advocates I've ever heard from advocate for either of those things.

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