* Posts by SkippyBing

1823 posts • joined 21 May 2008

International Maritime Organisation turns salty gaze on regulating robotic shipping

SkippyBing
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Re: ColRegs

'A radar system can easily run 24 hours a day.'

Rule 7c- '...assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information'

Although as it's the IMO that writes the rules, I'd suggest it's things like this that they're reviewing to remove the legal technicalities that are a road bloke to sea going terminators.

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SkippyBing
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Re: It'll Never Happen

'The real win for robot ships is small boats doing routine tasks that need lots of crew crew to cover 24x7 shifts. Harbour tugs, survey boats, cable laying, crew transfer, crane barges - anything with short range and relatively low trip lengths.'

True, but most of those would be in territorial waters, which aren't regulated by the IMO. Which makes me think this is an attempt by them to produce an international standard that'll become de-facto rather than having to deal with multiple national standards that they then have to hammer into a universal one.

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UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather

SkippyBing
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Re: Defence

I'm pretty sure they're called warships.

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SkippyBing
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Re: We're wasting money fighting a previous war - as usual.

'What if the missile is auto-targeting?'

At some point in the kill chain something has to find the target, track it, identify it, and then launch the missile. That gives you plenty of opportunities to break the chain, it doesn't guarantee you will but it does bring the probility of a hit down considerably.

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SkippyBing
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'MBDA's website says they're "European". Let's hope it's not dependent on Galileo or we're screwed.'

All it needs to know is a range and bearing to fly out on until it activates it's radar. You'd be actively complicating things by adding GPS.

In fact most military systems that use GPS aren't dependent on it as the military are probably the most paranoid about it not working. So you get to spend all your time practising the reversionary modes instead. Yay.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Sea Wolf

'The down side is "how many and how fast can you fire them?" followed by "how fast can you reload the launchers and do you have enough in stores to sustain the defense?"'

As they're launched directly from the magazine, ie each launch tube is storage for the missile in it, there's very little slowing down the launch process. On the flip side there's no reloads held on-board, once the tubes are empty that's it.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Sea Wolf

’Really? Within 6 feet?’

Certainly with the original style launcher,it was literally blink and you're looking at a cloud of smoke. It may have been by the time it reached the side of the ship but I think that was Sea Dart.

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SkippyBing
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Sea Wolf

The other issue with Sea Wolf, which is still impressive to see launched as it goes supersonic within its own length, is that you can only target as many aircraft as you have fire control radars normally two. With Sea Ceptor (stupid name) it only needs target indication, which can be done by a surveillance radar, and then guides itself to the target so it's much harder to saturate the defences.

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SkippyBing
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Re: We're wasting money fighting a previous war - as usual.

Down votes probably from people who realise your argument seems to be 'western weapons systems are all flaky bits of rubbish that won't work against the flawless wonder weapons of Russia and China'. Which considering the Russian Navy took an ocean going tug with it to the Mediterranean doesn't quite hold up.

As a counter at least one readily available tactic against a hyper-sonic missile is to take out whatever is doing the targeting.

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Presto chango, crypto buyo: You're travelling like El Reg's gang of nerds

SkippyBing
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Shhhhh

'five years on, you're still reading'

If my employer finds out they'll put me in an open plan office!!

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The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

SkippyBing
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Re: Radio 4

Have you tried the Radioplayer app? It plays pretty much any UK radio station and has an alarm function, and as far as I can tell you don't have to sign in to listen to BBC stations*. I started using it at work when it turned out the DAB radio I'd brought for the purpose received exactly two stations with moderate burble and nothing else and now I use it at home in preference to finding a radio. Not sure about downloads though, although most stuff I want to download on the BBC is available as a podcast with extra content anyway,

*As in I don't remember having to do it but I'm not in the UK at the moment and BBC stations don't seem to like playing. Absolute Radio though, no problem.

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Astronaut took camera on spacewalk, but forgot SD memory card

SkippyBing
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Professionals and IT

A few years ago now I found myself on-board one of Her Majesty's finest war canoes. At some point early on it was discovered I had a laptop, a copy of Premiere Pro, and enough knowledge to use both to produce videos that weren't terrible. Cue the XO (Executive Officer, second in command) saying every visit to a foreign port should have a briefing video for the ship's company on what to do, where to go, and how to ask for directions back to the ship. These were farmed out to the ship's various junior officers who'd film them and then I'd edit it into something vaguely coherent, and/or moderately amusing.

Enter the ship's Doctor who proceeded to spend several days filming around the ship with various people providing 'useful' information. Or as I found when I got the camera back, a lot of video of the decks before the camera panned up to cut out just as people started talking. I then had to explain that the little red light meant it was recording, not that it had stopped. Then I made a video out of the few usable bits and a lot of scenes of people's feet with instructions on how to use a camera.

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Undocumented alien caught stealing orbits in our Solar System

SkippyBing
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As with most space travel problems the answer is of course, Project Orion.

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IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on

SkippyBing
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Asking the wrong question

The IPv6 expert appears to be asking the wrong question, i.e. his four theories were all for why IPv6 would grow. As it's not growing it's unlikely any of his theories would be right. Or even exactly wrong.

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Eye in the sea skies: Insitu flies Scaneagle 3 UAV in first public demo

SkippyBing
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Well as the RN have already successfully operated them at sea I'd suggest they've already got that problem solved. Gyro stabilisation, it's a thing.

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Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

SkippyBing
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Re: F35B is not an all-American design either.

The Yak line is a bit of a red herring. At the time of the original competition the world leaders in STOVL design were in a team with McDonnell Douglas and Northrop Grumman, leveraging their experience with the Harrier and the P.1214 and P.1216 design concepts. These featured a tail exhaust much like the F-35/Yak-141 i.e. two bearings to allow it to rotate through ~90 degrees. Lockheed Martin were essentially flirting with Yak to try and get access to BAe System's knowledge base. Once BAe's original team lost they re-partnered with LM as part of the whole UK work-share agreement.

A lot of the control system tech for the F-35B was demoed in the VAAC Harrier proving the concepts that had originally been developed on the P.1216 design study. This has also made its way on to the F-35C to make it easier to land on the carrier, the so called Magic Carpet mode.

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SkippyBing
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Re: why didnt they..

Just to add the alternative idea was torpedoes, however rather unsportingly the Germans had put netting in place to stop that very thing.

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Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

SkippyBing
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Re: Hate to shock you

Many of those names are now used by their Cruisers. And you can't even blame it on Trump as they were all launched in the 80s/90s

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dreadnaught class subs?

There's a section in the book I mentioned before where they compare the armour and it wasn't as biased in Germany's favour as some people think. The major issue the RN had at Jutland was ammunition handling and control of the cordite which made them more liable to blow up. Again this was addressed post Jutland but there wasn't the opportunity to demonstrate it!

A problem the RN had was that for the previous 100 years they hadn't really been challenged so there was a level of complacency and rigidity that took time to address.

Oddly the battle cruisers were effective when used properly, e.g. at the Battle of the Falklands where they were able to sprint to the far side of the globe and then out gun enemy cruisers. It was just madness pitting them against actual battleships as at Jutland or against the Bismark with the Hood.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dreadnaught class subs?

True, the only remaining advantage the UK had was that it could build them faster than anyone else as the infrastructure to do so still exceeded anyone else's. And the RN still outnumbered everyone in pre-Dreadnoughts which didn't disappear overnight.

The Catch-22 was that if the UK didn't build one first someone else probably would. In fact I think the US almost did, but they took longer building it and it still had a triple expansion engine rather than a steam turbine so wasn't the complete Dreadnought package.

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SkippyBing
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Re: History fail ?

Agreed and like most of Churchill's commanders he suffered from the PM back seat commanding.

I just found it surprising when I was reading about Operation Pedestal recently that Auk didn't seem to see the strategic significance and refused to consider a diversionary action which the RN and RAF requested. For various reasons post Pedestal Malta was again playing a bigger role in cutting off axis supplies which helped lead to the eventual Allied victory in North Africa.

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SkippyBing
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Re: History fail ?

'Whatever other bad things I may say about Montgomery he at least (mostly) understood the importance of logistics.'

Oddly Auchinleck, his predecessor in North Africa, didn't seem to understand their importance, at least when it applied to the enemy, and was quite happy to lose Malta as he didn't appear to appreciate its importance in stemming the flow of supplies to North Africa.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dreadnaught class subs?

Sorry not an article, but in 'A History of the Royal Navy: World War 1' by Mike Farquharson-Roberts, Chapter 8.

Comparing Bayden and HMS Revenge*, the German ship was about 20% more flexible which wouldn't have been accepted by British naval architects and probably explains why the Seydlitz would spring leaks from the shock of firing its main armament. The German ship also had less effective internal sub-division to control flooding, was slower to roll which would have caused problems in the North Atlantic if it ever got there, magazines closer to the ships sides and hence more vulnerable, main armament that couldn't elevate as high limiting its maximum range, and less effective range finders.

The Germans did make better use of their range finders by walking their fire onto the target rather than making a series of corrections. Unsurprisingly the British changed to the German method post-Jutland and also designed and issued new ammunition when it was found theirs had had problems penetrating armour if it hit obliquely.

*Similar in displacement, armament, and machinery. Baden was also the design start point for the Bismarck which wasn't a particularly modern ship.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dreadnaught class subs?

'Ships that were well obsolete by the time they were needed to fire shots in anger? Impressive when built, they soon were out-classed by just about every other country.'

The Dreadnoughts were literally cutting edge when they went to battle in WW1. They probably weren't outclassed until the 1930s when the next naval arms race started. Bear in mind only one was built to the plan for Dreadnought, subsequent ships were to an improved design and when a post-war comparison was made to one of the surviving German ships the British ones were found to be generally superior and more technologically advanced*. In fact the Queen Elizabeth class battle ships which entered service from 1914 to 1916 served in both world wars.

*I've got a link to the article somewhere, but can I find it?

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SkippyBing
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Re: History fail ?

Have you looked at the names of French ships? They don't worry about what we think about theirs and I expect they'd be surprised at the level of introspection some people in the UK are giving to naming a ship after something that happened 600 years ago.

It wasn't that long ago* the German Navy had three destroyers named after Lutjens (commander of the Bismarck battlegroup), Molders (a WW2 fighter ace with over 100 kills), and Rommel (something to do with tanks).

Meanwhile the US Navy has a range of ships named after battles in the War of Independence.

In summary most countries don't care what other countries think of the names of their ships, so why should we?

*late '60s - early 2000s

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SkippyBing
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To be fair their flagship is named after a politician who did everything he could to keep the UK out of the EU. That was probably a hint.

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SkippyBing
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It's the only way to stop them wasting it on Watchkeeper.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Dear France

Well they've already named ships after Admirals and Pirates* that have fought, and occasionally beaten, the Royal Navy, such as Surcouf, Forbin, and Chevalier Paul. Cassard even raided Cork while the UK owned it. Not forgetting Lafayette who played a large part in the UK no longer owning the USA, it's quite a nice ship as they go and hosts a decent cocktail party. At no point was I upset by the name.

Maybe the French just don't get perpetually offended on other people's behalf?

*In some cases the same person.

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Britain to slash F-35 orders? Erm, no, scoffs Lockheed UK boss

SkippyBing
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Re: I read that as:

To be fair Airbus's attempt at a military aircraft, the A400 hasn't exactly been an unqualified success. They had to ask the partner governments not to apply the penalty clauses for failing to meet key performance requirements.

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SkippyBing
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' even though it's theoretically got about the same combat range as the WW2 Fairey Swordfish if actually armed.'

So twice the combat range of a Harrier and carrying twice the stores? Or the same range as a Swordfish but carrying three to four times as much five times faster? Or about 160 nautical miles further than an F-16 carrying a similar payload?

I mean if you want another fatuous comparison it's got only a quarter of the range of a B-24 Liberator, but it will be carrying four times the payload. And have a radar.

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SkippyBing
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'It'll be great if 310 is made (and still too much for the taxpayer).'

Well they'd delivered 265 to all customers by the end of last year with another 90 due this year so that should be happening sometime soon.

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Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet

SkippyBing
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I wasn't overly enthusiastic having read the accident report for that one!

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SkippyBing
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'however SOP for visible cracking normally is descend to 10k ft'

Although not over the Tibetian plateau, I think the safety altitude at that point in the flight was 22k ft! Also I think you're allowed cracks in a certain number of layers of the laminate before it becomes an issue?

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SkippyBing
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In other recent airliner accident news, an Asiana A330 knocked the tail off a Turkish Airlines A321 at Istanbul airport over the weekend. Which is more or less the opposite end of the scales in terms of pilot competence. And places Asiana firmly on my no-fly list...

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/it-sounded-like-bomb-going-12533701

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SkippyBing
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Re: Hero ?

I'm unaware of any full motion flight simulator that replicates having a 300 knot sub-zero wind blasting you in the face for the duration of an emergency, or a requirement to practice that scenario. So no, it's not a a situation they're actually trained for.

Also worth noting this is not an area of the world where you can immediately descend below 10,000' to avoid hypoxia so they and the passengers had to remain on oxygen for longer than you'd usually have to.

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NASA will send tiny helicopter to Mars

SkippyBing
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Joke

Re: Bernoulli’s Principle

'What is (going to be) remarkable achievement though, is a stable landing from which said helicopter can start again without human intervention.'

Oh I don't know, a lot of times it's the human intervention that means the helicopter never starts again!

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SkippyBing
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Re: WTF

It makes you wonder at their target audience.

If it was a manned helicopter on Mars you'd expect they'd have led with a slightly different angle...

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SkippyBing
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Re: It's a tough one at 1/160 Earth sea level pressure.

'However if the air is thin then the sound barrier isn't such an issue so smaller, faster blades can do the job.'

It's less of an issue in terms of the dynamic force on the blade, however it will still cause issues with flow over the blades breaking down leading to a loss in lift. Roughly speaking you'll get a shock wave forming somewhere on the upper surface first* rendering the area of blade behind it ineffective.

*Where ever the relative flow is fastest.

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SkippyBing
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Re: It's a tough one at 1/160 Earth sea level pressure.

'I'd guessed really big blades moving quite slowly.'

No, if you take the lift equation

Lift = Coefficient of Lift * Density of the atmosphere * V squared * the reference area

You've decreased the Density of the atmosphere, so to still get the same lift you need to either increase the area of the wings 160 times or the V squared*. Or some compromise between the two, although in this case I'm guessing there was a limit on how big they wanted the rotors to get. For an accurate answer you have to consider Reynolds number as well but that's the broad picture.

The next problem you've got is that the rotors are now moving much closer to the speed of sound which is not ideal.

*There's a limit to what you can do with the Coefficient of lift, if you could increase that 160 times we'd do it on Earth and airliners would have tiny wings.

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It's Galileo Groundhog Day! You can keep asking the same question, but it won't change the answer

SkippyBing
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Re: A logical outcome

'Perhaps it's really hard and you cannot easily plan for it.'

It may be, but I'd suggest you'd have to really try to have been as inept at it as the current government. Although I suspect Her Majesty's Opposition could give them a run for their money.

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SkippyBing
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Re: A logical outcome

'Let me set your GPS to find David Cameron, the person who quit from being in charge of the country the day after the vote.'

Yes, him the person to blame for any subsequent shambles, as not only did he fail to plan for the vote not going his way, but he also prohibited any government department planning for such a vote in advance. If you're going to call a referendum it's basic risk management to plan for both possible outcomes.

God knows what would have happened if Scotland had voted leave in their referendum as I doubt he'd let any planning happen for that either.

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SkippyBing
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Re: The UK go it alone?

'The only reason that the money the UK spent on Galileo was productive was that it was someone in Europe controlling the project.'

You say that, you may want to look at the glowing success story that is Berlin airport or Hamburg's opera house. You just don't hear about foreign incompetence unless it's really impressive.

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SkippyBing
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Re: A logical outcome

'The leave campaign were free to come up with a plan that could be put into action - the fact that they didn't speaks worlds.'

It's irrelevant whether the leave campaign(s) had plans or not, they had a variety some of which were contradictory, it wasn't a referendum for who ran the country, it was referendum for membership of a trans-national body. Whatever the outcome the same people were going to be in charge of the country the day after the vote, that they only planned for their preferred outcome is the reason for the extent of the subsequent shambles.

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SkippyBing
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A logical outcome

Of holding a referendum but absolutely refusing to even consider having a plan for if your preferred option isn't the one the electorate choose.

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Uber and NASA pen flying taxi probe pact

SkippyBing
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Power?

I'm not totally sure what the point of flying taxis is, I'm guessing to avoid ground congestion. But even if they're emissions free at point of use, you're having to generate a lot more electricity to lift something off the ground than roll it across it. Which doesn't seem to come up in any of the glossy presentations...

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UK's Royal Navy buys £13m mine-blasting robot boat

SkippyBing
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'So they'd probably rarely or never operate out of sight of a mother ship.'

I'd agree, I'd imagine the idea would be get the mother ship as close as you feel comfortable to the minefield and then deploy the robot mine hunter. If anyone wants to try hijacking a vessel engaged in actively hunting for mines do crack on...

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SkippyBing
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Re: Colregs

I think liberal use of 27(f) should minimise the likelihood of any collision...

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Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)

SkippyBing
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Really?

I mean who spends $20K on a new car when you could get a much better second hand one for the same money? And who aside from 16 year old lottery winners would spend $20K on a cheap second hand car and new alloy wheels?

They've created two caricatures of male behaviour and got exactly the results they thought they'd get.

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45-day drone flights? You are like a little baby. How about a full YEAR?

SkippyBing
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Re: Why just military?

Clouds. At 55-70,000' there's a lot of weather beneath you so the chances of being able to see what you're interested in are pretty low in London, and not great in LA with the coastal fog and/or smog. For long-term surveillance it's not a major issue, for real time following car chases and the like it makes it a non-starter.

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