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  #21  
Old 01 May 2013, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
Then why were do we refer to cavalry instead of elephantry?



Although War Elephants were impressive, most countries could not field or maintain them in enough numbers to be effective versus the numbers of horses that could be maintained for the same costs.

Elephants were also more difficult to control once they panicked, were more prone to dying during forced marches over inhospitable terrain.

Compared on a one on one basis, the elephant is a clear winner... but the overall picture is not so clear.
That's far from saying they never took off. They were used successfully until cannons made them ineffective. I would say that use of pigs as mounts never took off, and war elephants were just not adopted outside of the region they were initially used.
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  #22  
Old 01 May 2013, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
it was like spotting Concorde.
Which is of course another one -- supersonic airliners. In the late 1960s many people assumed that subsonic jets would be obsolete soon, after all only a decade earlier airlines had made the pretty big leap from piston-engined propliners to jets, so supersonic air travel seemed like the next logical step. In fact I've heard that the reason Boeing designed the 747 with the cockpit on the upper deck was because they assumed it would be short-lived as a passenger airliner and expected it to mainly be used as a cargo plane. In reality the Concordes were a loss-leader and source of prestiege for Air France and British Airways, but supersonic flights never really became a practical means of air travel for the masses. Meanwhile, while there have been improvements in things like noise levels, fuel economy, range, and avionics, a modern airliner isn't that different from a 707.

Another aviation related one that never really took off (pardon the pun) was the unducted fan engine. Essentially a hybrid between a turboprop and a jet, it was supposed to offer jet like speeds with turboprop fuel economy. McDonnell-Douglas did a lot of work with them in the 1980s -- I've heard the MD-88 was designed to accept them as an option. The major problem was that they were way too loud.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 01 May 2013 at 07:51 PM.
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  #23  
Old 01 May 2013, 07:55 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
That's far from saying they never took off. They were used successfully until cannons made them ineffective. I would say that use of pigs as mounts never took off, and war elephants were just not adopted outside of the region they were initially used.
The Persians used them, as well as Alexander's armies once they had seen and captured some, and the Seleucids also continued the use of war elephants. They were a useful addition to a mixed field army, especially against horse cavalry, as horses didn't like them much, but they weren't invulnerable and could be neutralized with proper counter-measures. ISTR they had some trouble against a well-formed phalanx since they were intelligent enough not to like to run into a mass of pointy sticks.

Nick
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  #24  
Old 01 May 2013, 08:16 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
(1) Hydrofoils. They always looked cool in water-chase scenes. Some were even deployed for a time as military craft, and there are still some in service, but their use is declining.

(2) Hovercraft. See above, but they probably had even less market penetration than hydrofoils did.
In terms of military applications, hovercraft have actually been far more successful than hydrofoils, due to their usefulness as amphibious landing craft. In fact, they are now the primary landing craft of a number of navies.

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Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
My impression is that halogen lamps are destined to be a narrowly-applied technology, for headlights and a few other uses, but not the broad home- and workplace-lighting market. They cannot be touched, lest you cause a hot-spot which burns them out prematurely. Also they operate so hot that they have caused quite a few fires, so a lot of people have shunned them. Almost certainly CFLs or, better yet LEDs (if they can fix a few technical issues), will be the building lighting choice of the next several decades or more.
Even in the major applications of halogen bulbs - vehicle headlights - they're starting to be supplanted by LEDs.

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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Which is of course another one -- supersonic airliners. In the late 1960s many people assumed that subsonic jets would be obsolete soon, after all only a decade earlier airlines had made the pretty big leap from piston-engined propliners to jets, so supersonic air travel seemed like the next logical step. In fact I've heard that the reason Boeing designed the 747 with the cockpit on the upper deck was because they assumed it would be short-lived as a passenger airliner and expected it to mainly be used as a cargo plane. In reality the Concordes were a loss-leader and source of prestiege for Air France and British Airways, but supersonic flights never really became a practical means of air travel for the masses.

Another aviation related one that never really took off (pardon the pun) was the unducted fan engine. Essentially a hybrid between a turboprop and a jet, it was supposed to offer jet like speeds with turboprop fuel economy. McDonnell-Douglas did a lot of work with them in the 1980s -- I've heard the MD-88 was designed to accept them as an option. The major problem was that they were way too loud.
Arguably noise considerations had much to do with the Concorde not taking hold as well. With supersonic travel considered too noisy for routes over land, and too little range for Pacific flights, it was pretty much destined to only fly transatlantic routes.
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  #25  
Old 01 May 2013, 08:59 PM
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Many sources state that Concorde was quite profitable for both Air France and BA because of its luxury/prestige marketing. It was not a "loss leader" at all.
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  #26  
Old 01 May 2013, 09:02 PM
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Despite the fact that video chatting on Skype and AIM and so forth is now pretty common place and the technology is as ironed out as it's ever gonna get, video calling never really seem to do what everyone always assumed it would do, supplant audio only telephone calls as the primary form of person to person communication. It just seemed back in the day there was the assumption that once technology reached the point where you "could" see the person you were talking to, that would just become the default way of long-distance communicating. So while for some time now a consumer level "Video Telephone" would be child's play easy for any half competent tech company to make and use over the already existing infrastructure, no one seems to really want one and their equivalent of video chatting doesn't really seem to fit the same niche. When two people want to talk they just... still talk. It seems that we don't really have a desire to bring our faces into now that we can that everyone seemed to assume was gonna be the case.

If anything this is one area where really took a step back. Socially instant messaging, which I'd wager is the primary form of communications for the younger set, has more in common with the telegraph then either the telephone or the hypothetical video telephone. I'd wager that no one during the telephone boom of the early-mid 20th century and the cell phone boom of the 80s/90s would guess that short text messages (which if you notice almost look like a telegraph message) were going to re-corner so much of the market.
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  #27  
Old 01 May 2013, 09:09 PM
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I think it was Aérospatiale and BAC for whom the Concorde was a major money sink.
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  #28  
Old 01 May 2013, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Many sources state that Concorde was quite profitable for both Air France and BA because of its luxury/prestige marketing. It was not a "loss leader" at all.
Huh. I guess I didn't really research it but I'd always heard that they lost money on every flight (they were real gas guzzlers, I hear, and couldn't carry very many passengers).

ETA: Are you sure your sources aren't saying that the Concordes produced an overall positive effect on BA and Air France's bottom lines in spite of being more costly to operate than the revenue they brough in per flight by enticing people to fly on other BA/AF flights as well (which is exactly what a loss leader is supposed to do)?

Last edited by WildaBeast; 01 May 2013 at 09:31 PM.
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  #29  
Old 01 May 2013, 09:43 PM
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Too late to edit again, but for example, suppose some fashion bigwig needed to go from New York to Milan. He may very well have booked a Concord flight to Heathrow and then a first class ticket onward to Milan. BA might have lost money on the Concord flight itself, but made a profit overall since the guy also bought a first class ticket on another flight. If BA didn't have the Concord the guy might have flown on a different airline.
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  #30  
Old 01 May 2013, 09:54 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Really, your businessman wouldn't even have to actually fly on the Concorde. Suppose he's from a somewhat less prestigious firm - maybe Concorde tickets aren't quite in the budget, but he's sure as heck flying British Airways like the other bigwigs.
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  #31  
Old 01 May 2013, 11:23 PM
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Since Concorde was a "First Class Plus" airline, I assume that they took away some of the first-class business from other airlines, including their own, but as for more people taking transatlantic flights because "someone" (not them) could fly across the Atlantic and "arrive before they left", I can't imagine that. Transatlantic travel is its own reward - Europe is major vacation destination for people in the US, especially the very wealthy, and lots of high-level commerce takes place in New York (the "destination" for almost all Concorde flights) - people needed to get across anyway, but doing so in very, very exclusive style - if they could afford it - was an adventure that many were willing to pay for.

As for using the purely transatlantic leg as a "loss leader" for other destinations in the US or Europe, well, that all depends upon scheduling and seat availability. It probably wouldn't be convenient. If speed was critical, why not charter a private jet and fly directly to Milan - thus avoiding the layover time in London/Paris? And if it's last minute, I don't imagine there were too many walk-up seats available on Concorde, because if there were empty seats, it would have been better to offer them to other first-class passengers on "normal" flights - the prices being close enough that there's no good reason to have any empty seats.

Building the planes - the lack of further customers especially since supersonic flights across the US were banned - may have been bad news for Aerospatiale and BAC - but buying the planes and operating them is quite often claimed to have been profitable for both airlines until Air France had that crash.
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  #32  
Old 02 May 2013, 01:04 AM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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The idea isn't that more people are deciding to take transatlantic flights because of the Concorde, though. The idea is that someone who was already planning on flying (transatlantic or otherwise) decides to fly BA or Air France instead of the competition because of the association with the Concorde.

It's like a major car manufacturer that builds a supercar. No, not very many people can afford them (and they may well be losing money on each one they sell) but if, say, GM can get enough people to buy a Chevy instead of a Ford because Chevy has the ZR1, then they come out ahead
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  #33  
Old 02 May 2013, 01:30 AM
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With multimedia stuff, ADAT is one that showed a lot of promise, but just didn't make it to market long enough before hard drive recording became the norm.
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  #34  
Old 02 May 2013, 01:31 AM
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That and something like the Concord probably served as the testbed for a lot of technologies that could then have been put to use in other more money making aircraft.
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  #35  
Old 02 May 2013, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
As for using the purely transatlantic leg as a "loss leader" for other destinations in the US or Europe, well, that all depends upon scheduling and seat availability. It probably wouldn't be convenient. If speed was critical, why not charter a private jet and fly directly to Milan - thus avoiding the layover time in London/Paris?
I will concede that opon further research the connection I suggested probably wouldn't have been convenient in reality because the eastbound Concorde flights were scheduled during the day and arrived in London and Paris too late to make many connections, so you'd likely have to spend the night in London. But hypothetically if the layover were only an hour or two it would actually have been faster to fly to London/Paris and connect to another flight within Europe than to fly nonstop on a subsonic jet. Of course if it's a last minute thing then scheduling is a factor; if you've got to be in Europe ASAP and the next Concorde flight doesn't leave until tomorrow but there's a redeye to London leaving in two hours, then the redeye would obviously get you there sooner.
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  #36  
Old 02 May 2013, 01:37 AM
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As far as video calls go, the technology is mostly there. Most cell phones can do it easily. I think my phone company even charges the same for video calls as for audio only. I still have yet to make a video call though. Mostly when I call somebody I am doing something else as well (walking, driving etc) that makes staring at the screen difficult
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  #37  
Old 02 May 2013, 02:17 AM
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It is interesting to think if video calls would have become more common place had the phone stayed a primarily at home devices instead of the mobile device it has become.

Did the mobile phone kill the video phone? (Cue Buggles song...)
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  #38  
Old 02 May 2013, 03:08 AM
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I don't make video calls unless it's a work conference because I don't want to have to worry about my appearance or the state of my apartment when I'm just calling to talk.
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  #39  
Old 02 May 2013, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by me, no really View Post
As far as video calls go, the technology is mostly there. Most cell phones can do it easily. I think my phone company even charges the same for video calls as for audio only. I still have yet to make a video call though. Mostly when I call somebody I am doing something else as well (walking, driving etc) that makes staring at the screen difficult
One of the big obstacles is a lack of standards that everyone is willing to adopt. Much of the technologies get siloed in so much that it gets limited to a particular carrier or manufacturer. Most phones don't have a "native" solution that doesn't rely on a third party system. And most of the have limitations when you talk about using the cellular network.

To use an example, Apple's Facetime system is a native solution that integrates with the phone the same way the dialer does. Dead simple to use, but there are caveats. For years it was Wi-Fi only, then only a couple of models were only allowed for cellular usage and then the rules were different depending on your carrier and plan. My phone is compatible, but my plan isn't. And then my phone can only do video with only Apple devices. And the only way it works on other handsets is that I have to sign up for an account with a third party and use that service.

I don't want to think of the problems with other handset makers using their own solutions on other platforms. The only real popular system that is cross platform is Skype and that is never a native solution which means that I have to make sure everyone has an account and have a separate list of contacts... Nobody seems to want to play with each other very well in my perspective.
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  #40  
Old 02 May 2013, 04:17 AM
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I was just thinking the other day about how video phones never really took off. As a kid I thought it would be kinda creepy to always have to see someone (and have them see me) when I wanted to make a phone call. I like privacy.
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