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Comment This is interesting (Score 4, Insightful) 163 163

There's this huge movement against GMOs, artificial ingredients and other scapegoat ingredients du jour, despite the fact that virtually all of them have undergone rigorous testing and long-term studies and have proven to be safe for human consumption in reasonable quantities. But I guess if it spooks consumers, companies are going to do what's necessary to maintain their revenue streams. Never mind that a diet high in simple carbs like sugar and HFCS (which are highly and conspicuously represented in General Mills products) are the real enemies that shorten your life and bring on obesity and all its nasty side effects like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Then again, I guess it's better to simply green wash them as "organic evaporated cane juice" and the like than to risk making things less palatable?

Comment Too much automation by computers (Score 2) 253 253

FTFA: "...Without the vital data parameters, information from the engines is effectively meaningless to the computers controlling them. The automatic response is to hunker down and prevent what would usually be a single engine problem causing more damage. This is what the computers apparently did on the doomed flight, just as they were designed to do."

So, in other words, each engine did exactly what is was designed to do, which is to act independently and shut itself down. There's no executive override function that says "hmmm, maybe we shouldn't shut down 3 engines at the same time!" The crew had no chance against an obviously buggy software implementation. Pilots need more control to override complex software like this in emergencies.

Comment Yeah I noticed it too... (Score 3, Insightful) 351 351

Initially thought it was a new mozilla-run service, but when i clicked through to learn more, it was clear that it was a 3rd-party proprietary service. That's when i removed the 'Pocket' icon from the toolbar: Hamburger --> Customize --> drag it down and out. Kind of annoying that the plugin code bloat remains, but guess that's just something I'll live with for now.

I've been a big user and supporter of Firefox, even through all the performance problems, mis-steps, yahoo search shenanigans, but this is the first time I feel they blatantly went against their philosophy of an open web. Tsk tsk Mozilla.

Comment Hey morons (Score 1) 84 84

Vapor? Kickstarter's don't lead to serious hardware? That's your insight?

What part of John Carmack, Atman Binstock, Michael Abrash, two shipped development kits over two years, the Samsung GearVR and a $2B Facebook acquisition don't you understand? This is not vapor and it's not a kid's garage Kickstarter.

Semi-informed douchebaggery is the not the same as an informed opinion. Jackasses.

Comment Re:Show me the math on the Tesla. (Score 1) 280 280

Well, it all depends on where you're talking about. The thing electrics have going for them is that *if* you can move toward clean/renewable sources of electricity, then you're doing more than displacing pollution by going electric. For example in California, less than 10% of electricity comes from coal (http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html) and almost half is natural gas, which is somewhat "cleaner" than gasoline, all factors in.

And with solar on it's current growth trajectory (http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/electricity_generation.html) it could rival natural gas for top dog in as little as a decade.

Comment Re:With REALLY Huge Fans... (Score 2) 280 280

Yeah it's true. Battery technology has a long way to go for flight. Non-production electric airplanes *could* be a curiosity in about 15 years, but we're probably closer to 30 years for truly viable electric aircraft... and that's assuming we ever get to the point where energy density of batteries are able to close in on the energy density of petroleum distillates.

Comment Re:All "security" tech is outright fraud (Score 1) 67 67

Yes, I recall that quote. He was trying to make a big statement in front of the media and ended up leaving the company shortly after that. What I imagine he was trying to say is that signature-based AV is dead in terms of efficacy against quick moving threats. I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but even lowly Symantec has multiple layers of protection and I don't think they're all "dead" so to speak:

Comment Re:All "security" tech is outright fraud (Score 3, Interesting) 67 67

> I wouldn't pay for an anti-virus solution as anti-virus software is an outright fraud. The companies can't fix bugs in the code (on proprietary platforms) and at best there is a slight chance some malicious software might get picked up (the risk and costs vs reward though isn't worth it).

Do you think you might be overstating the case a bit?

It's not *that* bad. Believe it or not, most modern security technologies do indeed track behavior profiles and use reputation systems to catch lots of bad stuff that's never been seen before. If you take off your hate glasses for a moment, you might learn something.

> I don't use MS Windows or Mac OS X or any proprietary software

RMS, is that you?

Comment Not that impressive really... (Score 1) 258 258

Newer Tesla Model S cars will be able to basically do the same thing this summer with its auto-pilot 'lane holding' firmware update.

It may not be obvious to those who aren't paying close attention to the advancement of self-driving technology, but driving hundreds of miles on a highway is actually fairly easy for today's AI and requires only a basic sensor stack (GPS, HD camera with IR for nighttime, 600 ft radar sensor up front, and a slew of sonar sensors for close up decisions). Lane holding and traffic-aware cruise control together basically can take you 99% of the way to any city from any other on the interstate -- and this is likely coming to a car near you (not just $100k luxury cars) in the next 5 years.

Beyond the highway though, is where the current technology falls apart... The difference between maintaining a lane on the highway and driving in a suburban neighborhood is orders of magnitude in complexity. Google's super-fancy Lidar-based "driverless" cars still have tons of trouble navigating in cities and suburban settings. I'm not even going to approach the topic of weather, but to illustrate some of the challenges, in a city you might run into:

* Roads with inadequate, faded or absent lanes markings.
* Intersections with no stop/yield signs or broken/flashing traffic lights
* Vast distances with no speed limit signs
* Random and unpredictable people, animals and inanimate objects crossing or blowing across the road (e.g. a raccoon, kid on bike, plastic bag, paint bucket, police officer with hand up each may require a completely different reaction from the driver and the inappropriate reaction could put occupants or pedestrians in serious danger.)

All of these are relatively easy for people to navigate, but pose significant challenges for AI. I predict that all-weather, door-to-door, autonomous driving is closer to 10-20 years away -- perhaps 10 years for high-end vehicles and 20 years for your run-of-the-mill Toyota Corolla, etc... (Think of the rollout of GPS navigation or airbags.)

Comment Re:I tried to raise this issue before... (Score 1) 292 292

I was being facetious with that comment, but do you have any other viable choices in mind? Don't all cars come with non-free software in them? The only thing Tesla's done is enabled an OTA update mechanism for the firmware. Virtually all new cars sold today have update-able firmware and even if they didn't, there's still no way you can prove that the NSA hasn't got a back door in there from the factory. So, unless you want to go around driving a classic from the 70s or 80s, you're pretty much at the mercy of your car's manufacturer anyway.

Comment Re:I tried to raise this issue before... (Score 5, Interesting) 292 292

Hi, Tesla Model S owner here... Technically you do get asked before firmware installs proceed (download happens automatically in the background). You're free to simply not apply the update. However, and more to your point, as with any binary update mechanism, there's really no viable way to determine what's actually getting installed in the process and you would lose out on potentially important bug fixes. Not all that different from Windows Update...

My personal assumption is that the firmware is a complete privacy-invading cesspool. I love the car overall, so I'll keep it until such time as I get the first mailed speeding ticket based upon my car's GPS location and internal speed telemetry.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson