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Comment People need to keep their jobs (Score 2) 169

The drone program is a killing machine that creates it's own targets by itself. One of the basic things you learn about government agencies and programs is that they can't be stopped or reduced. You can only slow down their growth. Fortunately, this isn't 100% true for the US, but generally, people like to keep their jobs and positions. And they will go to any length to do this. They will keep finding reasons why their work should continue to exist.

Once you set something up, it is very, very difficult to tear it down.

Why should the drone program be any different? Target lists are secret. As well as the reasons given for people being targeted. If you were to reduce the target list, you would need less drones, less people and less money. Is there any sane reason why this should ever happen when there is no oversight over target lists?

Anything we have heard about the drone program confirms this. They are now down to shooting kids that made suspicious posts in online forums.

Comment Re:How long will the company stay up? (Score 1) 494

To me it looks like the scapegoat and business as usual thing is currently what we do. What happened after 2007? Did the top management from Lehman Brothers get touched? Or any other bank? They didn't even have a scapegoat. And it doesn't end with private industry. There is clear and conclusive evidence that the Abu Ghraib abuses were directed by knowledgeable people that had at least the rank of generals:


But they found scapegoats. And everything went on business as usual.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 1) 345

> It also traveled at over 3 times the speed of the Concorde.

Why do you post easily refutable factually wrong information?

From the respective Wikipedia articles.


Maximum speed: Mach 2.04 (â1,354 mph, 2,179 km/h, 1,176 knots) at cruise altitude
Cruise speed: Mach 2.02 (â1,340 mph, 2,158 km/h, 1,164 knots) at cruise altitude


That same day SR-71, serial number 61-7958, set an absolute speed record of 1,905.81 knots (2,193.2 mph; 3,529.6 km/h), approximately Mach 3.3. SR-71 pilot Brian Shul states in his book The Untouchables that he flew in excess of Mach 3.5 on 15 April 1986 over Libya to evade a missile.

Comment It still is (Score 1) 82

Freemium is alive and kicking. Especially with companies that don't have enough money for marketing. Maybe they cut back on features for the free offering. But a digital product that can be distributed over the internet is naturally suited for the freemium model.

I just started using Cloudbacko, for example. I had to purchase the pro version immediately, because I needed the bandwidth limiter, but other than that, the free version is the perfect entry to this software.

Comment Different problem (Score 1) 91

I think the issue isn't really autonomous robots. The problem is the declared and clearly defined battlefield. Inside the battlefield, autonomous and semi-autonomous systems are already at work, there is not much you can do about that. Ships, for example, have anti missle systems that are completely autonomous. And decisions to kill or not to kill are often made on the spot and quick. Humans err a lot in these situations, leading to lots of horrible mistakes.

Outside the declared battlefield, e.g. around the whole globe, the story is quite different. If we could simply decide to require a legal trial before execution, we would have much more moral ground to stand on.

Comment Re:Your justice system is flawed, too. (Score 1) 1081

You comment is ironic, right? People could have been easily executed for treason in the Weimar Republic in Germany. Hitler would have been gone, would it not have been for a lot of intervention on his behalf by people in the justice system and politicians. Justice is flawed. It was even worse back then.

During the time Hitler was not executed, lynchings were still frequent in the US.

George W Bush gave the order to kill people and torture people. Obama did the same. Even though the US has the death penalty. Some people can't be touched. Politics. That's how it works.

Comment Multi Transport Navigation (Score 1) 421

I am sure there is more than one company working on this right now. The idea is quite simple. I want to get from A to B and would like to see all my options listed and sorted by speed and price. Including rental, flight, taxi, uber, train, car sharing, bus, own car, bike, walking, hovercraft, skateboard, and so on. And any combination of the above that would make sense. Optimized by weather forcast (less likely to bike, motorbike or walk), recorded walking speed, recorded bike speed, and options I can put in. For example a dislike for rental cars, lack of drivers licence and other.

This is simply a logical conclusion of Google Maps, navigational software and the modern smartphone. If I want to travel to point X, why doesn't it show me everything, how fast and how much it will cost me? Why do I have to manually check train and bus schedules (which are machine readable on the internet) and see if I want to walk to a different public transport station than the one nearest to me, if it offers a much better connecting and I am a fast walker. Or own a bike.

Comment Nuclear dangers (Score 0, Redundant) 409

I am from Germany. Over here I spoke to someone working in the field of nuclear safety (obviously also job dependent on nuclear energy, so ...). He said that he thinks we take more than enough precaution with dangerous material in connection with nuclear energy. Especially compared to other chemicals and materials in other fields, which can also be quite hazardous, but are regulated and therefore handled with a lot less care. And thus tend to harm human health and the environment much more.

Comment Lot's of generals are watching (Score 1) 498

I think a lot of nations are watching very closely. We have the conflict in the Mideast, where Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran are often cited to be nuclear hopefuls. Israel is/was expected to give up their bomb if/when a proper security structure is in place.

Then there is the potential conflict in the South China Sea, where China just unveiled a military budget that it's neighbors can't even hope to match conventionally some day. So we have Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and possibly Indonesia eyeing "other alternatives".

And we have the standoff between India and Pakistan, both of which were hopefuls for a nuclear disarmarment, should a peace deal be reached at some point. I don't need to mention that China, just like Russia, being nuclear capable and having had a war with India and still some territorial disputes, will make it impossible for India to give up it's nukes. Especially when treaties like the Budapest Memorandum are not worth the paper they are written on.

We also have some very old rivalries in South America. Brazil is expected to have enough material and the scientific resources to make a bomb. There are also rumours. Putting regional rivals such as Argentina and Venezuela on edge. And even though Venezuela is nowhere near nuclear capability, the mere chance is probabely making the Colombians uneasy.

Have I missed anything?

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"