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ESA Carries Out Asteroid Impact Drill 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the hide-behind-the-moon dept.
Zothecula writes: If there were any dinosaurs around, they could tell you that an asteroid impact can ruin your whole day. But if we did learn that one was actually going to strike the Earth in a month, what would the authorities do? To find out, the European Space Agency held its first ever mock asteroid drill to work on solutions and identify problems in how to handle such a catastrophe.

Comment: Re:I don't care about NASA (Score 1) 156

by BlueStrat (#48650981) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

If your tax money went to SpaceX, it would convert them into a government-sponsored institution and would be doomed to be plagued by inefficiencies that do not exist in the purely private sector.

Only true if taxes are the only source of initial capital outlay and income for SpaceX.

Taxes would be paid to SpaceX as agreed-to remuneration according to a contract offered by the government and won through competition by SpaceX. Seeing as SpaceX is a private concern created with private capital which competes for contracts against other competitors not only on contracts with the US space program but also others, your statement fails on that basis.


Comment: Re:I am wondering (Score 2) 295

by BlueStrat (#48597421) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Why couldn't he have saved $5-6000 working other jobs to buy a used car to use as a cab instead of this renting his cab from a company? Then he could've kept 100% of his earnings, and the fares would also be a lot lower for the consumers.

It's quite possible that even barring any laws or regulations restricting/forbidding such a move, the cost of renting a taxi might well be a net savings over footing all the costs of ownership & operation as an individual due to things like group rates for liability insurance and fleet maintenance contract cost savings over costs for individual trips to the local auto mechanic's garage, etc.


Comment: Re:I am wondering (Score 2) 295

by BlueStrat (#48596565) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

That would be different based on the city and state (US)

A friend drove a cab for years and around here that is not how it works. The cab company rents the cabs to the drivers at a set amount per day. The driver can accept jobs that come in across the computer but there will be a small handling charge that is built into the price per mile printed on the side of the cab and used in the meter. If they pick up some one who flags them down or some one who calls their Cell and requests a pickup then there is no handling charge.

The friend of mine that did it treated it like a small business. He had cards made with his cell on them and kept his car immaculately clean. After the first year 90% of his calls were from customers and word of mouth. He would also give discounts to his regulars. Really the discounts were nothing more than him deducting the handling fee from the printed cost.

I don't know enough of the facts & details of the particular situation you describe, but just from your description, that's not too bad. Especially if the driver rents the cabs and pays no maintenance, insurance, tags, etc etc.

Sadly though, that's not typical in many urban/suburban areas with denser populations (where taxis are needed most) in the US. Most often, you see some sort of local taxi commission that's usually corrupt "regulating" a small number of taxi operations, sometimes just one.

NY's system is one of the most infamous, with Chicago's corrupt system at their heels with Washington D.C. in there too, vying for "Most Corrupt & Broken US Taxi System". Many others are equally bad, heck, I haven't even mentioned anything west of the Mississippi, and there are no lack of bad & corrupt taxi systems!

What's happening here regarding the new online independent private taxi services is really not much different in principle to what has and is happening to the old business models for media/news/entertainment monetization, sales, and distribution.

This time, there are a lot of locally-powerful corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and unions in major cities around the world that stand to personally lose out if the old taxi systems go extinct, never mind the corrupt taxi company owners' anger and resistance.

The politicians and bureaucrats, as is typical with government (and the larger it is, the more "inertial resistance" to change there is), will have to be brought kicking & screaming into the modern age. This is particularly true if that change means those in government lose money, power, and/or control.


Comment: Re:I am wondering (Score 1) 295

by BlueStrat (#48595949) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

what would happen if the cab drivers would also act as Uber drivers?
If you can't fight them, embrace them.
Haven't seen this anywhere yet.

1. They could not charge as much as they used to. as a regulated taxi.

2. The taxi company would fire them if they found out they also drove for Uber/Lyft.

3. Having been forced to charge less, they'd have to work longer and compete for customers.

4. Being that Uber/Lyft have ways for customers to send feedback to report bad drivers/performance/cleanliness and hold drivers responsible, the former taxi drivers would have to actually put in effort to make the ride safe, comfortable, pleasant, punctual, and convenient.

So they'd rather protest than compete.


Comment: Re:It won't be long (Score 0) 325

by BlueStrat (#48546477) Attached to: Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

It is an avoidable risk, in that we can tell idiotic humans to stop flying quadcopters near planes, you fools!

I've only read TFS not TFA, but how do we know that this wasn't a government drone and/or operated by or at the government's direction? Either as part of some unrelated police or intelligence/surveillance operation, or even possibly as a "false-flag" operation to provide the government public opinion leverage for heavily restricting/licensing and/or banning regular citizens from owning/operating drones.

Another point, TFS quotes an altitude of 700 feet for the aircraft. That would mean that a drone would not need to be operated at a very high (or technically 'illegal') altitude to be "near" the extremely low-flying aircraft.

There are a lot of unsupported assumptions being made all around.


Comment: Re:Yep (Score 2) 103

by BlueStrat (#48545667) Attached to: Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

That's right! Hand over power to the states! Because unlike the fed, state government officials are totally immune to power grab and corruption!

If you have all the other states along with federal executive/judicial/legislative branches that are not so corrupted to the degree they are currently, the problem would self-correct. The Rule of Law instead of the Rule of Men would prevail.

It's like a computer network; A system built from independent machines with a varied 'ecosystem' of software, hardware, and security systems is a much harder 'nut' to crack than a single machine that operates a network of 'dumb' terminals.

In a very real way, those who wrote the US Constitution were network design geniuses. It makes little difference whether one is discussing a computer network or a government. Whether it's a network for data or for government power, many of the basic principles governing their operation, behavior, and security remain identical.

They were the ones introducing the new & disruptive concepts of their age, like all rights and powers originating from and by the People, and that government exists at the People's pleasure to protect and defend those rights equally, and has only those powers loaned to it by the People, and those powers may be altered or abolished by the People as described in the Constitution as they see fit.

Go and read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers and the associated letters exchanged between the authors of the US Constitution if you want to understand these concepts. Of course if you're already fixed in your beliefs, then you may as well save time & bandwidth.


Comment: Re:Yep (Score 1) 103

by BlueStrat (#48544881) Attached to: Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

Because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, remove the over-reaching power.

The republic was never designed for a federal government with so much power. That was one of the basic tenets of it's design, to not allow the central government too much power.

Break it up like Ma Bell of old. Do away with the unnecessary/harmful/unconstitutional parts, and allow the states more control.

Note; I am not advocating doing away with a central government. Just reducing it's size, scope, power, and cost to more closely resemble what the founding documents say it should look like.

Nobody is going to pay off an official who hasn't enough power to accomplish the goal(s) of the pay off. It's also hard to politically influence a federal agency/department/bureau that does not exist.



A Common Logic To Seeing Cats and the Cosmos 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the learning-to-teach-to-learn dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Quanta Magazine: "Using the latest deep-learning protocols, computer models consisting of networks of artificial neurons are becoming increasingly adept at image, speech and pattern recognition — core technologies in robotic personal assistants, complex data analysis and self-driving cars. But for all their progress training computers to pick out salient features from other, irrelevant bits of data, researchers have never fully understood why the algorithms or biological learning work.

Now, two physicists have shown that one form of deep learning works exactly like one of the most important and ubiquitous mathematical techniques in physics, a procedure for calculating the large-scale behavior of physical systems such as elementary particles, fluids and the cosmos. The new work, completed by Pankaj Mehta of Boston University and David Schwab of Northwestern University, demonstrates that a statistical technique called "renormalization," which allows physicists to accurately describe systems without knowing the exact state of all their component parts, also enables the artificial neural networks to categorize data as, say, "a cat" regardless of its color, size or posture in a given video.

"They actually wrote down on paper, with exact proofs, something that people only dreamed existed," said Ilya Nemenman, a biophysicist at Emory University.

Comment: Re:Setting aside that old Constitution (Score 1) 446

by BlueStrat (#48511457) Attached to: 18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

And America's modern right often argues that portions of the US Constitution can be safely ignored because CommunistsXXXXXX terrorists.

No, those are Progressives who are in both camps (Left-Right, Republican-Democrat).

Progessives are the problem. As their name suggests, they want government to "progress" past the limits of the Constitution. Progressives are the ones who push for the "living" Constitution that allows "creative" re-interpretations of the limits on government scope & power which enable government abuses and corruption.

Stop electing Progressives in either major Party and things will get better. Keep electing the same Progressives in the major Parties, and things will continue to get worse.


Comment: Re:Value your prefrontal cortex? (Score 2) 233

by BlueStrat (#48493353) Attached to: Football Concussion Lawsuits Start To Hit High Schools

Do you like the capabilities your pre-frontal cortex gives you, like executive functions, impulse control, etc?

Then don't play football.

Avoidable brain damage is stupid. Avoidable mechanical brain damage twice so.

But...but...where will we get future cops and politicians from, if there are no more government-indoctrinated violent and aggressive brain-damaged.individuals being turned out by schools?


Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 115

by BlueStrat (#48489585) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

I agree, you're the first one besides myself I've seen mention this.
They have already been used to present evidence of corporate wrong doings.

1 example. []

Yes, they are a force multiplier for people against both public and private sector corruption, criminality, violence, and tyranny.

That's why unelected bureaucrats creating regulations with the force and criminal penalties of a Federal felony are an unconstitutional abomination and a clear assault on individual freedom and civil rights, plus accomplishing further destruction of the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches of the US government.


Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 115

by BlueStrat (#48487651) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

Funny how this revelation comes out just before they are about to release their regulations for "drones".

The biggest dangers that drones present from the perspective of those in government are that drones in civilian hands are a force-equalizer and also hamper the ability of those in government to operate without being observed.

Any other reasons for government regulation of drones are secondary to those primary motivations and also serve as a smokescreen to cover for those primary motivations.


Comment: Re:Oven Tech (Score 2) 145

by BlueStrat (#48479087) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

Surely there's better tech than what we use today to prevent our automobiles from becoming lethal ovens.

Certainly there is. You can just cook your kids and pets at home, no need to waste the gas going out at all. Home ovens have been large enough to do this for decades now. People are so wasteful!


Now, see!?

That is the kind of straightforward and direct, logical, practical, problem-solving engineer-style thinking /. *used* to be known for right there, something that seems to have almost disappeared from /.!

Bravo Sir, bravo!


Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.