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Comment: Information overload (Score 4, Insightful) 56

There is simply no way human beings can sort through that much data. That means relying on gadgets and software to do the sorting for the humans. Anyone who manages big data can tell you how corrupt most data sets really are. Names spelled different ways, bits of information incorrectly transcribed, copy errors, format errors, import errors are all low probability events but, when you're dealing with billions of records, there are a lot of them. Just in general, gadget security doesn't work.

In nearly every terrorist event that's happened in the U.S., the FBI had tips from alert citizens. That was true for 9/11 and almost all of them in between. The FBI even interviewed the Boston Marathon bombers. HUMINT works.

Funny that the FBI screw ups don't get more media attention. In nearly every case they didn't effectively use the information they had, so how is more information going to make things better?

Comment: Prime example (Score 4, Insightful) 103

by HangingChad (#49550691) Attached to: Microsoft Increases Android Patent Licensing Reach

If anything points out that software patents should be completely thrown out it's this kind of nonsense. The computer world used to joke about the "Microsoft tax" on new computers due to the cost of Windows. This is, literally, a Microsoft tax on Android devices. At least with Windows you got something, this is money for nothing. This is not what the patent system was designed to do.

Comment: Always felt silly for doing that (Score 1) 224

That sounds like a good time for a duress password.

I always took the time to make two containers with one accessed through a duress password. I felt silly for doing it...less so now. It was something I did because I used to travel a lot internationally. That was before Customs started cloning people's device drives.

Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 0) 333

by HangingChad (#49539137) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

he'll be prosecuted for manslaughter, right?

Sure, we should stop fighting terrorists because they hide behind hostages. That's a brilliant strategy. And then prosecute the people launching attacks against terrorist bases overseas. Another brilliant plan! Pure genius.

Maybe a better plan is for civilians to stay the fuck out of conflict zones or face the fact there's a risk of getting killed.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 2) 533

by HangingChad (#49505215) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Is this industry BS, or is there something to this claim?

The power companies do actually have somewhat of a point but, in many ways, the issues are very similar to what's going on with internet technologies.

Part of your electric bill goes to maintaining the electric grid and the LV (Low Voltage) network that serves your neighborhood. Suppose there are 10 homes on an LV network and 2 of them install 7,000 watt solar arrays. Now the cost of maintaining the LV network has to be split among 8 homes instead of 10. At first that wasn't any big deal but, as more people add solar power, the power companies still have to maintain the grid and enough excess capacity to make up the shortfall on a cloudy day. As the use of solar power starts going up geometrically, it is really pounding the snot out of your local power company (not that they don't deserve a little of it).

So let's suppose we charge everyone a connect fee for grid maintenance. That covers the cost of maintaining transmission systems, LV networks and excess unused capacity. It will also raise the cost of utilities for the poorest fraction of society. I was shocked to learn that there is a large segment of utility customers who use very little electricity. A connect fee would, for many of them, be a significant price increase.

Some of these problems can be mitigated by smart grid technologies. Now we get into a pissing contest between utility companies and regulators about who is going to pay for the upgrade. Utility companies want the government to pick up the tab, even though that wasn't the deal when they were granted a monopoly. Just like telecos want the government to upgrade the internet so they can step back in and reap the profits. Free market corporate welfare. Utilities are hesitant to invest money in a rapidly diminishing market.

This points out one of the big reasons why privatizing utilities is such a monstrously bad idea. Once profit becomes the prime driver of utilities, the greater good is completely out the window.

Comment: Re:Hell No Hillary (Score 4, Insightful) 676

by HangingChad (#49459571) Attached to: Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid

Please don't vote for Hillary just because she is a woman.,

This election won't be about gender or any substantive issues. The only choice is going to be between Crazy and Not Crazy and Hillary wins that going away.

The GOP doesn't have any policies to run on, they've turned into an endless fountain of negativity. Benghazi! Tax cuts! Email server! Job creators! They're anti-science, anti-abortion, anti-everything except starting another war in the Middle East.

No one that isn't as batshit crazy as they are is going to vote for a GOP presidential candidate.

Comment: Re:Never (Score 4, Informative) 181

by HangingChad (#49454719) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

3. Dangerous

What's dangerous is 3,000 pounds of metal being controlled by a driver who is impaired by alcohol, drugs or messing around on their phone. Around here the greatest impairment is age. A good third of the people on the road around here can barely see. Self-driving cars don't have achieve some lofty safety record to become the standard, they only have be better than humans and that's already within easy reach compared to the technical hurdles already overcome.

4. No one controls when and where I go

That may be the dumbest excuse to oppose technology I've ever read. If you fly, ride the bus, train or cruise ship, other people control where you go.

I remember people in a video forum in 2004 telling me they'd be shooting film the rest of their lives. That was just 11 years ago. In just that short time span video has not only rivaled film but surpassed it. Long before video surpassed film in terms of quality, video displaced film on the basis of cost and ease of workflow. The technical hurdles in 2004 for video to replace film were huge and it happened in less than a decade.

Cars are not only going to rival human drivers but surpass them, and definitely a lot sooner than you think. It won't be that long before people who insist on driving themselves become the hazards on the road and I don't think your right to seize the steering wheel is going to trump the lives of other drivers.

Comment: Re:Sensors wrong (Score 1) 460

by HangingChad (#49421519) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

Air France 447 was one of those incidents.

But who's to say a remote pilot would have done any worse? Everyone died on that flight, so how much worse could the remote pilot have done? Air France 447 isn't the only crash to take place because of clogged pitot tubes. There was also Birgenair 301 and a couple others.

There seems to be a perception that a remote pilot would somehow do a worse job than someone on the flight deck. Until there's actual experimental data to support that claim it's not a valid argument. Right now you're all going on your perception as someone sitting in the passenger seat. The airline pilot's union is hardly a disinterested third party, it's their jobs on the line.

And what about accidents cause when the flight crew was distracted or confused? That's a long list there.

Automation shouldn't need to reach some ridiculous extreme in safety to be considered the superior alternative. It should only have to be +1 better than human pilots. Anything else is irrational.

Comment: What I can't figure out (Score 1) 258

by HangingChad (#49410605) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

With the push for autonomous vehicles what I can't understand is why cargo ships still have a crew? It seems like shipping would be a far better candidate for automation than cars. You'd need a harbor pilot to steer into port, just like you do now, but it seems like the other 98% of the time cargo ships, with the proper tracking technology would be a slam dunk for automation.

Still, when it comes to cars. If a self-driving car was available I'd definitely buy one.

Comment: Re:Cutting edge has unknowns! Who would have thoug (Score 2) 47

by HangingChad (#49396673) Attached to: Costs Soar on NASA Communications Upgrade Program

SpaceX reaches for the sky and they manage to stretch their budget to work on a reusable booster.

If NASA is anything like the gov projects I used to work, there are too many people billing time on too few projects. But I noticed a tendency for people to reflexively defend NASA instead of asking hard questions about the budget, contract costs and staffing.

Comment: Re:Let's see (Score 3, Informative) 442

by HangingChad (#49366321) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Isn't Florida supposed to be underwater ?

Since you obviously haven't been here for a while, many parts of Florida are underwater at high tide. In Palm Beach and parts of Miami storm drains flow backwards and boat docks are underwater. Just across the inlet, West Palm Beach has a massive project going on to raise sewer lines so toilets will confinue flushing and there are several similar projects in Miami. They're also spending hundreds of millions to reinforce the well casings in the wells Miami gets its freshwater.

Florida is fighting that losing battle quietly. It's not like an area dependent on tourism and investment can announce they're sinking and there's no way to stop it but that's the reality.

Climate deniers are the most ignorant fraction of our society.

Comment: Re:Buggy whip makers said automobiles aren't... (Score 1) 451

by HangingChad (#49291069) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

There are an incredible number of obstacles that a person can instantly recognize that even today, a computer can't.

And that list gets smaller and smaller all the time. When you look at the progress that's already been made, the last mile of automation is totally achievable. Around here a good third of the drivers on the road are old people who can barely see past the hood and another 10 percent are functional alcoholics. The handful of relatively competent people are texting or talking on the phone while they're driving. As someone who commutes by bike in this metallic soup of human incompetence, the transition to self-driving cars can't happen fast enough. I'll take my chances with machine intelligence and machine reflexes any day.

The underlying assumption to your comment is that human drivers are competent. That may be true in BF Nowhere Utah but, here in the civilized world, human drivers are fucking idiots. So, sure, go ahead and drive your pickup to the market. Around here I'd rather see a computer at the wheel than grandma.

"Thank heaven for startups; without them we'd never have any advances." -- Seymour Cray