Tech Tuesday 4/24/18 – Post-Phoenix Edition

Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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13 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    AERO03: Link goes to the same story about sleeping accommodations on the lower deck as AERO02.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    Aero1 – of course, if anyone’s holding their breath for it, that company fouled up big time.Report

  3. PD Shaw says:

    ENV02: “If a solution were possible, it could prompt a government department to commission a study to investigate such possible solutions.”

    Possibly. Possibly not.Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    Aero2 – are they having trouble finding people who will pay for upgrades? (Either through cash or loyalty?) I’ve only been on a few long haul international flights in my life, but it always seemed to me that the ‘business’ class* was always filled up. This seems to augment that class and price point.

    *i.e. whatever you want to call the tier between ‘extra legroom economy’ and ‘super deluxe Jennifer Anniston on Emirates’Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

      Usually the cost between coach and a bit extra legroom is significantly less than the cost of coach fare, whereas upgrading to first class can cost you, what, 2x-3x as much as a coach fare, or more?Report

  5. Oscar Gordon says:

    I’m surprised SCI01 or TECH01 hasn’t gotten more comments…Report

    • I actually ended up discussing SCI01 with a friend separately, who unlike me is a scientist (research Neurologist) that I like to discuss such things with, so I’ll condense a few of his comments for the group:

      Good stuff. I would agree that there is just too much to know in any given field, so more specialization and more researchers are needed to advance a given branch of science further.
      In my field, we know so little that I disagree about advances being less but I lament the slow progress. We get eager for treatments and we need money to address this but we also need more funding for basic science – such as understanding Alzheimer’s dx. This unfortunately does not profit well directly – “priceless.”

      This chunk from part 2 generated caused me to flag for later reading/research:

      The throw money at it tendency. Many companies have responded to competition by “adding human resources and other resources to R&D,” the authors note. They add that there may be “a bias in large companies to equate professional success with the size of one’s budget.”
      Investors and managers are now questioning the throw money at it tendency and seeking to slash R&D costs, according to Scannell et al. They add: “The risk, however, is that the lack of understanding of factors affecting return on R&D investment that contributed to relatively indiscriminate spending during the good times could mean that cost-cutting is similarly indiscriminate. Costs may go down, without resulting in a substantial increase in efficiency.”


      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        The risk, however, is that the lack of understanding of factors affecting return on R&D investment that contributed to relatively indiscriminate spending during the good times could mean that cost-cutting is similarly indiscriminate.

        The Lazy B was famous for this, back in the day (they are a bit better about it these days, although that leads to other issues).Report

    • Okay…

      SCI01: Unsurprising, to anyone who has been paying attention. The interesting parts of material science requires access to IC-style fab lines running from tens to hundreds of millions. Systematic astronomy requires scopes running to billions of dollars (Weber). Experimental physics platforms run tens of billions (CERN, ITER). The exceptions are in biologic sciences, where CRISPR and other tools are making it cheap to do stuff that used to be hideously expensive. Yes, I”m ignoring leading-edge engineering, eg, AERO03.

      TECH01: If you can dissolve it in a solvent that can be removed, or converted to an inert solid by some means that doesn’t mess with the active ingredients — evaporation, thermal setting, UV curing, etc — someone will 3D-print it. Caseless ammo is always going to be tricky. Not to mention that the obvious place where the weight savings is most valuable — aircraft — is rapidly reaching the point where cannons are a second- or third-order consideration. Apaches and F-35s are missile platforms, not gun platforms. (F-35 software was going to include the ability to actually fire the cannon in approx 2020; until the press made that an embarrassment, none of the Air Force, Navy, or Marines cared particularly.)Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Caseless is only really important to soldiers. Ships and tanks don’t care too much*, and for aircraft, a gun on a modern fighter aircraft is like a knife to a soldier, except an aircraft gun is way bigger than a fighting knife.

        *And as soon as ships have the railguns working well enough, expect them to move to railguns, with tanks to follow as soon as it’s feasible.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    I’ve read a handful of articles talking about the awful things happening to coral reefs, specifically “bleaching“.

    “That’s awful”, I thought and then didn’t think about it.

    In preparing for a VR game night with co-workers, I picked up a little “game” called “theBlu“. Ten bucks full price, I bought it on mega-sale.

    It’s not even a game, really. You’re just put down into one of three scenes in the ocean. In one, you’re in the deepest depths and you can watch an Anglerfish do some light hunting. (You’re given a flashlight that can let you look around your area but you don’t need it to be on to see the Anglerfish do its thing.) In another, you have an up-close-and-personal moment with a whale. In the last, you’re put smack dab in the middle of a coral reef as a bunch of fish migrate through. Interactivity is limited to fish not wanting to be touched and swimming away from your “hands” as you try to touch them.

    All of these were stunningly beautiful… but it was the coral reef one that made me say “oh” several times as I looked around.

    VR is potentially a tool to make people care, and care *VERY* deeply, about such things as bleaching. Show what the reef used to look like. Then show them what it looks like now. Then show them what it’s going to look like in 5, 10, 20 years if something isn’t done.

    This could be one hell of a powerful educational tool. Take people places they’d never ordinarily go and show them “this is what is happening” and then put out a call to action. You can make people care about a place they’ve seen and looked around in a way that you could never make them care about with mere words and, maybe, some high-quality photos.

    Who cares if the pictures are “real” and the VR is “fake”. Put the person in the middle of a migration and tell them that such migrations are threatened and see what happens.Report