* Posts by David Schlinkert

6 posts • joined 7 Aug 2007

Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

David Schlinkert

Comparing Pratchett to Dickens' "fire" is like comparing an aircraft carrier to a couple kids on a raft.

SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

David Schlinkert

Re: Why land at sea?

It has to do with the trajectory of the launch, it would take way too much fuel to bring the booster back over land; that would seriously cut the lift capacity. If I remember correctly, the penalty can be as high as 30%. Landing a returning mission on land is a much simpler process and the amount of fuel needed is mostly a matter of orbital speed.

Swiss space plane to launch robotic orbital debris destroyer

David Schlinkert

Sling-shotting with a tether

If the de-orbiter was in two parts connected by a tether, by playing out the tether as the de-orbiter uses its thruster to spin the pair, it would be possible to release the debris in the opposite direction of the orbit. Done properly, the debris would then be moving slowly enough to re-enter an burn. The tether could be wound in and the de-orbiter could move on to the next item.

Live or let dial - phones ain’t what they used to be

David Schlinkert

Rotary dials were arranged the way they were because of the original switching system. It used mechanical stepping motors and each click of the rotor was a step on the switch. Zero was ten steps.

Tesla unveils battery-swapping tech for fast car charging

David Schlinkert

It continues to amaze me how much hate there is for electric cars in general and Tesla specifically. Does it have something to do with the Model S being a fantastic car that the haters will never be able to afford? I don't live in the city, but I do live in a metropolitan area and even the least expensive battery (250 km) would serve for an entire week of normal driving.

Half of GPS users given duff information

David Schlinkert

GPS on - Brain off?

I don't have a problem with road information being outdated or less than perfect, it's no different from paper maps. Anyone who follows either without thinking, watching the road, or reading signs gets what they get.

On the other hand, I'm amazed how old much of the GPS "information" is. As an example, the Post Office in my town moved in 1987 and the current databases use that address. To put this in perspective, the company that built the digital map did not exist at the time the P.O. moved!

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