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Comment: Yes, but it's about social control, not driving (Score 1) 268

by swb (#49187489) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

I think there will still be requirements for a license but it will be about the state apparatus' interest in controlling movement of citizens and not about driving the car.

At first, it will still be about "driving" as I think that the transition to self-driving cars will be somewhat gradual. I don't think it will be the case that this year's model is manual and next year's is fully automated. Automation will be phased in where the car can handle more and more routine driving situations until eventually no driver control will be required, and during this transition it will still be possible (and necessary) to actually drive the car.

Even the first fully automated cars will probably allow some kind of user overrides as to where the car goes, how fast, etc, so you will still need to have a driver responsible.

But after cars become fully automated, it won't be about "driving" anymore, it will be about the state's interest in controlling who can go where and when.

Comment: Who buys this stuff? (Score 2) 65

by swb (#49187435) Attached to: FTC Targets Group That Made Billions of Robocalls

Who's actually spending money on this stuff?

I get that maybe some elderly people can be victimized by carefully tailored scams that target the elderly, but when some guy from India calls some old white guy in Indiana about his computer, is he really going to buy into it?

And this other stuff about your credit cards, free trips, auto warranty -- who is buying this kind of thing over the phone anymore?

Comment: Re:Musashi (Score 2) 93

I'm curious what the narrative about the cradle of civilization is if the Romans hadn't gotten their shit together. Marius, despite his wealth, is discredited by the Senate and never implements the Marian reforms, the Cimbri and Teutones defeat a sapped Rome, sack Rome and the Romans never manage to become more than a regional power in the Italian peninsula and the widespread influence of Greek-influenced Roman culture never takes hold in Western Europe.

FWIW, I might proffer the Battle of Breitenfeld as being nearly as valuable to Western civilization as Tours and Vienna. It marked the end of Catholic religious domination, broke the political monopoly of the Catholic Church through the establishment of the modern nation-state with the signing of Peace of Westphalia.

Comment: Re:Great product bloodlines (Score 1) 55

by PopeRatzo (#49185413) Attached to: A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video)

The QuNexus also has control voltage outputs for directly triggering analog/modular gear.

That is great news. I've got a room full of old modular synths, like a Serge suitcase model and an early Arp.2600. Not to mention a Steiner-Parker that looks like it should have a 1930's phone operator sitting at it.

I've built some home-brew triggering controllers, but none of them are anywhere near as good as what McMillan makes.

Comment: Re:Alternate Bank of Canada Press Release (Score 1) 203

by swb (#49184353) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

As far as I know, this is only true prior to creating the debt. You can decide you'll only sell your widget for credit cards, in trade for tribbles or whatever payment method you decide on. But you can only do so BEFORE the sale.

After the sale (once the debt is created), you MUST accept legal tender to settle the debt when it is offered. If I sit down in a restaurant and eat a meal without any notice that I can't pay my bill in cash and then I want to pay in cash, they must take my cash.

Comment: Re:Opposite axioms lead to opposite conclusions (Score 1) 236

by swb (#49183109) Attached to: Racial Discrimination Affects Virtual Reality Characters Too

Maybe, it is all about single-parenthood â" all human cultures were highly suspicious of bastard children (the very term is a derogatory one). And not because the mother "sinned" â" if that were the case, her subsequent marriage would not have absolved the child â" but because it is much harder for a single parent to raise a child into a decent human being.

I'm not so sure it's bastard children but the decline of the multigeneration household. I think in centuries past, despite the social penalties, there were probably a lot of single-parent families but the loss (or lack) of a parent was less burdensome because of the presence of other adults in the home.

I also think bastard children were disliked less for the moral implications and more because they represented a disruption to succession of leadership. If Grog was the head of his clan and he had a sons with his wife and his mistress, there's always the chance that the son of his mistress might challenge the son of his wife for clan leadership. I seem to recall from a history class that the Catholic hierarchy in Europe grew quite a bit as bastard children of royalty were put into the Church to give them something to do and get them out of the way.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.