In a recent study the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, as many as 30 percent of all passengers said they had accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing. About 67 percent said they had never done this, always ensuring that their electronics were turned off. Four percent were unsure.
In another segment of the study, passengers were asked if they turn their devices to “off” when instructed to do so by the pilot. Although 59 percent of passengers said they do fully turn their electronics off, 21 percent said they often simply switch to “airplane mode,” which disables the main radios of a gadget. Five percent sometimes adhere to the rule. And others were either unsure or do not carry electronic devices on a plane.
The device most often left on is the smartphone, the study found.
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DARPA has announced the second test flight of the Falcon HTV-2 aircraft. This unmanned aircraft is designed to fly at speeds up to 13,000 mph (at least that’s what they’re admitting to) and is the result of a project started in 2003 for the US military to be able to reach anywhere in the world in less than an hour.
The Falcon is launched on the back of a rocket and its carbon composite skin is designed to withstand the heat generated by flying in the upper atmosphere at speeds more than 20 times higher than the speed of sound — four miles per second.
With this spur yet another mis-use of technology as we decided to get rid of our ground bases around the world in favor of having a few fast, stealthy aircraft which can deliver a payload instead of having boots on the ground?
Over the last decade we’ve been experiencing the result of relying on intercepted satellite communications over having infiltrated potential enemy organizations. It’s great to have the ability to put hardware in harm’s way instead of our soldiers, but there’s nothing like the ability of a human to make sure we’re ready, and to make sure we’ve got the right target.
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X projects have helped us build some of the most successful technologies ever. It was an X project that got Lindburg to fly across the Atlantic and it has helped spur our first commercial space program. But now the X moniker is being lent to a new, hybrid Air Force Jet Fighter, dubbed the “F-X”.
The Air Force’s cheif scientist, Mark Maybury, has been at the drawing board and he’s sketched out a future in which US military jets are equipped with battery-powered flight (backed by internal combustion), an extensive avionics package which includes lasers, radar reflection and evasion, heat detection and even the ability to inject computer malware into enemy computers. (Think Iran‘s Stuxnet nuclear bug).
Maybury is looking to use super capacitors to store excess energy generated by the jet’s engines to such an extent that they would power all the on-board electrical systems and be able to handle the huge current draws that we expect from the laser and directed-beam energy weapons systems of the future.
Not a bad idea, but also not a big reach idea either. Improved motor designs, such as a combined-cycle motor are likely to win more wars and save energy while doing so.
Something I’ve expressed concern about for the past 10+ years are the terrible assumptions being made by some engineers in the automotive and airline businesses. Looks like those bad assumptions may have caused the crash of an Air France Airbus.
Let me say it again: Having a computer over-ride human controls is a very bad idea. Continue reading