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Comment: Ooops! (Score 3, Funny) 128

by jd (#47734597) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Found a bug in physics.c, those cars we mass produced last year will spontaneously explode after 367 days of exposure to an atmosphere containing oxygen, or when white lines are painted rather than vinyl, or when attempting a corner of a prime number of degrees when speeding on a cambered road.

Why wasn't this spotted sooner?

Because we hadn't expected to need chemistry or non-Euclidian geometry in a physics engine.

Comment: Re:Perhaps this won't be a popular view... (Score 1) 181

by jd (#47734539) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Then make the episodes longer. Or have one set of presenters on the first show (they're usually paired) and the others on the second show. Or eliminate redundant footage so that you can have two or three times the content. Or eliminate the advertisers, sorry adverts, and get three times the running length.

Comment: Re:Not sure if gone (Score 1) 181

by jd (#47734503) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Discovery got caught using fake footage in documentaries. No scientist should be working with a channel that is peddling fraudulent material. History lost a lot of reputation with their academically bogus Ancient Aliens stuff, but at least they didn't try to offer photographs and videos they themselves doctored as "evidence".

If the three have projects worth taking seriously, they won't be projects on Discovery. HBO has less of a credibility issue.

Comment: Re:Turn it around: (Score 2) 74

The man is a freaking icon of free speech. Only hateful, harmful, ugly, disagreeable speech needs any protection in the first place. I can't think of a living speaker who offends my more than that guy has. If you don't support his right to free speech, you're simply unclear on the concept.

That's not a two way street. Just because all the speech that needs protecting offends someone doesn't mean all offensive speech should have protection. Threats, libel, slander, fraud and perjury are all forms of speech. Playing loud music at 3AM is arguably a form of expression. The "freedom of speech" card is not absolute in any country on earth, even the US.

Comment: Re:Adding Politics to Engineering Decisions (Score 1) 128

by Kjella (#47734171) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

You really think this is solely an engineering decision? I'm guessing this is just as much if not more a business decision. We could have real world testing which is expensive where unexpected quirks and flaws could be revealed or we could have simulations which are cheap and quite confined to whatever it is the scenario is testing. Everyone in suits would go with simulations, while engineers know that models are abstractions and simplifications of reality.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they do a ton of simulation and regression testing and as a design tool it's invaluable. To use a car analogy I really doubt cars come rolling off the assembly line without some prototyping and real world tests first though. Remember that those affected by regulations tend to have really deep economic interests in skirting those regulations as much as possible.

Comment: Re:Variation in online reviews (Score 2) 92

by Kjella (#47733989) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

If it's a big shop with tons of review it won't prevent this particular product from being a lemon. I recently had that happen to me on eBay, 99.5% approval rating and >100k feedback score but product was real bad. They delisted it after I complained. At any rate, I wish Amazon would split it into "Product reviews" and "Vendor reviews", because a lot of the feedback is about bad customer service that's entirely irrelevant if you buy from a different seller.

Comment: Re:Free market (Score 1) 212

by Kjella (#47733901) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

It's the same attitude you may have noticed that come from people who defend socialism but when confronted with the flaws of the Soviet Union, Maoist China, or Cuba will claim that those were, nor are, not under real socialism, but something else (tsarism, in the case of Russia).

It's the same attitude you may have noticed that come from people who defend libertarianism but when confronted with the flaws of Somalia will claim that those were, nor are, not under real libertarianism, but something else (anarchy, in the case of Somalia).

The truth is, people game any system. They want that cushy job, that fat pay check, the easy life. Any form of organization whether it's corporate, government, non-profit or otherwise end up serving at least three distinct interests. The one they're supposed to serve, sure. The actual people working in that system, they all want theirs. And finally the system itself, the government wants to expand the government's powers.

Incentives are flawed. Checks and balances are flawed. But perfect is the enemy of good, because the alternative to not keeping those forces at bay is exploitation. Inevitably, when there's no power structures they create themselves, anything from gangs to warlords to conglomerates to oligarchies. The idea of an egalitarian society where everyone is equal and power doesn't concentrate is like a world with gravity where matter won't clump together.

There's a reason why Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." I think the same can be said of capitalism, there's hardly any problem finding faults with it. The problem is finding a better system that works in the real world with real people and not some idealized form for an idealized people. Ideology is always clean and academic, the actual implementation is always messy.

Comment: Re:Not my kind of person. (Score 1) 396

by Kjella (#47731235) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

It sends the message that intangible property is still property.

Work is still work even if the result isn't property, if somebody wants software to do X which doesn't exist they have to either pay someone to write it or write it themselves. My current job would still exist if copyright disappeared tomorrow. As would any other system built for internal use or one particular client, all the consulting services around making it work and so on. Or that are centered around controlled services like an MMORPG. Yes, COTS software as we know it would basically implode but I'm guessing that in its absence we'd see Kickstarter or "hostage" funding, basically it's already written but we want a sum to give it away, probably with a lot of smaller and more incremental improvements. After all, the world won't stop needing software and it won't write itself.

That's the way other markets work, the electrician is paid for the work not the kilowatts, the plumber as well not by the cubic meter. Being able to shamelessly copy each other has its benefits too, it might curb innovation but it also lets everyone use the best, most popular and easy to use solutions rather than worrying about patent lawsuits and seeking out inferior alternatives to work around them. Actually being the first to sell something tends to give you a pretty good edge even if you have cloners who'll copy your magic, particularly if you're thinking hardware/software combinations. It would be different, but I think we'd be okay. In the vacuum left companies would probably be more willing to spend money on tweaking OSS tools to their uses too.

Comment: Re:Quite simply... (Score 1) 530

OK, I'll bite. :)

Standardizing on tabs helps mitigate this, as everyone sees what they like to see (I se tabstop=4 in vim on my vertical monitor, my emac-using coworker likes tabs to look like 8 spaces on his widescreen monitor), yet indentation level 3 is represented by 3 of something, not 12 (as I would have it) or 24 (as Stas would have it) of something.

Comment: Re:"Not eradicated" isn't needed (Score 1) 174

by TheRaven64 (#47727069) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells
The point that the grandparent is trying to make is that you don't need to prevent cancer, you need to prevent cancerous cells from having a serious adverse effect on the organism. There are a number of benign growths that have cancer-like properties that people can live with and that don't spread over the body. Being able to differentiate the benign versions from the malignant and kill off the malignant cells would not require eradicating the cancer mechanism, but would (from the perspective of humans outside of the medical profession) count as curing cancer.

Comment: Re:it's not the ads it's the surveillance. (Score 1) 537

by TheRaven64 (#47727059) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year
I wonder if this will change, given all of the reports about web advertising being a bubble. Advertisers are starting to notice that, for most of them, the ROI is tiny and that's eventually going to trickle up the supply chain. If Microsoft were smart, they'd sell off their ad business while it's still at an overinflated price and then work to kill the market.

Comment: Re:We get cancer because we have linear DNA (Score 1) 174

by jd (#47726213) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

That's easy to fix. If a cell has not just the existing error correction codes but also digital ones as well, then mutagenic substances (of which there are a lot) and telemere shortening can be fixed. Well, once we've figured out how to modify the DNA in-situ. Nanotech should have that sorted soonish.

The existing error correction is neither very good nor very reliable. This is a good thing, because it allows evolution. You don't want good error correction between generations. You just want it in a single person over their lifespan, and you want it restricted so that it doesn't clash with retrotranspons and other similar mechanisms. So, basically, one whole inter-gene gap/one whole gene protected by one code. Doable. You still need cell death - intercept the signal and use a guaranteed method.

One picture is worth 128K words.